Source: History of Fillmore County Minnesota, Volume I Illustrated; Chapter XXXIII; Compiled by Franklin Curtiss-Wedge; H. C. Cooper Jr. & Co., Chicago (1912). Transcribed by Sandra Stutzman.
Beginning of State System-Summary of Present Schools-School Progress-First Districts Created-The First Schools-Starting of the Various Districts-City and Village Schools-Early Spelling Schools-Prepared with the Assistance of Professor Oscar Carlson-Edited by Mrs. John C. Mills.
In the story of American civilization, the establishment of the school and the church has been coincident with the building of home. However, at the formation of the Union, and later, when the federal government was established, there was no definite line of action as to public education, although at the same time that the constitution was adopted the last session of the continental congress was being held in the city of New York, and the ordinance of 1787 was passed, regulating the affairs pertaining to the Northwest territory, including that portion of Minnesota lying east of the Mississippi river. In this ordinance much attention was given to the question of providing a means of public education, by giving one section in each congressional township for educational purposes. Later, when the purchase of Louisiana was effected, and Minnesota sought admission into the Union, still further provision was made for education by giving two sections in each congressional district for such purposes. This gave impetus to the natural tendency toward educational matters, and we find that one of the first efforts in the new settlements was to prepare to educate the children. The church and the school building, when not one and the same, were practically always found side by side. The hardy pioneers of the Great Northwest-of which Minnesota was a part-did not wait even for a territorial government, but set to work at once to establish schools. The first one in Minnesota, for the education of white children, was organized by Dr. T. S. Williamson, at the present site of the city of St. Paul. We are told that investigation demonstrated that there were about thirty-six children in the settlement who might attend a school. A log house, 10x12 feet, covered with bark and chinked with mud, previously used as a blacksmith shop, was secured and converted into a schoolhouse, and taught by Harriet E. Bishop. Here, then, while the United States troops were gaining such signal success in the war with Mexico was begun the system of education which has become one of the best in this great nation. In this same little schoolhouse, in November, 1849, was held a meeting for the purpose of establishing a system of public education, based upon the congressional act of March, 1849, establishing Minnesota territory. Alexander Ramsey, of Pennsylvania, when appointed governor, proceeded at once to assume the duties of his office. In his first message to the territorial legislature, in the fall of 1849, he emphasized the need of wise measures looking to the establishment of a system of public education in these words: "The subject of education, which has ever been esteemed of first importance in all new American communities, deserves, and I doubt not, will receive your earliest and most devoted care. From the pressure of other and more immediate wants it is not to be expected that your school system should be very ample, yet it is desirable that whatever is done should be of a character that will readily adapt itself to the growth and increase of the country, and not in future years require a violent change of system."
In response to this appeal for legislation in school matters, we find that a committee on education was appointed, and a very able report was made by the chairman, Hon. Martin McLeod. This report was formulated into an act relating to public schools in Minnesota, which act was passed in the last day of the session, November 1, 1849. Tax levy was provided, and a system of management arranged. The first superintendent of common schools for the territory was Rev. E. D. Neill, who served till 1853. His salary was $100 a year.
The first school instruction in Freeborn county was given in the pioneer homes by mothers, who, though they had come to a new country, did not wish their children to grow up in ignorance.
The early comers never lost sight of the idea upon which the possibility of founding and supporting a popular government rests-the education of the children-and as fast as the children appeared and became of school age, the best possible provision, at the command of the people, was made for their schooling.
An account of the various expedients resorted to, that would meet the requirements of the circumstances, would, while sometimes laughable, reveal the struggling efforts of a determination to bestow knowledge upon the rising generation in spite of all difficulties. Schools were often kept in a log dwelling, where the school room would be partitioned off from that occupied by the family by an imaginary line. Sometimes an open shed as an annex to the house would serve the purpose in summer. The usual method was for the neighbors to get together and organize a district, and select a lot for a building. Of course each one would want it near, but not too near, and generally there was little trouble in establishing the location, which would be with a view of accommodating the greatest number. And then to build a schoolhouse, a "bee" was the easiest way, and so plans and estimates were improvised, and each one would subscribe, one, two, three or more logs so many feet long, so many shingles, so many rafters, a door or a window, and at the appointed time the men would assemble with the material, bringing their dinner pails, and by night, if there had not been too much hilarity during the day, the building would be covered and practically completed. The benches would be benches indeed, often without backs, and sitting on one of them was about as comfortable as sitting in the stocks, that now unfashionable mode of punishment.
Schools were thus multiplied all over the country, until in the winter of 1859, the legislature passed an act making each organized township a school district, to be subdivided according to local necessities. But this plan was soon repealed and the present method adopted. The districts were numbered consecutively, beginning at a certain point, and new districts, as they have been created, have followed the order of time in numbering.
The last log schoolhouse in the county was in the Goldsmith district, south of Chatfield. That gave place about 1896 to a frame one, and this ended the use of log schoolhouses in the county.
The Present Schools. The schools in the common districts are under the immediate supervision of a board of trustees in each district, consisting of three members, the special and independent districts having a board of education, consisting of six members.
The county superintendent has general supervision of the schools in the county. It is his duty to visit the schools, advise teachers and officers as to the best method of instruction, the most improved plans for improving and ventilating schoolhouses and ornamenting school grounds; conduct teachers' and officers' meetings and make reports to the state superintendent of public instruction.
The state grants special aid to schools coming up to certain standards of requirements: $1,750 to high schools, $600 to graded schools, $300 to semi-graded schools, and $150 to first-class rural schools. Second-class rural schools open seven months receive $75 and those open eight months receive $100.
Fillmore county, at present, receives special aid for seven high schools, four graded schools, four semi-graded schools, thirty-two first-class and thirty-three second-class rural schools.
Progressive educators hopefully look forward to the time when the country girls and boys will be afforded facilities equal to the best in the cities-when as a result of consolidation and the establishment of local agricultural, high and graded schools, no teacher will be required to teach more grades than she can handle to the best advantage, and the pupils be enabled to secure a good elementary education without leaving home. With the new law granting special aid to seven months schools, the number of schools on the state aid list is rapidly increasing.
There are 185 organized districts in the county. Of these, seven, at Rushford, Lanesboro, Preston, Harmony, Mabel, Chatfield, and Spring Valley, are city schools with first-class high schools. The Spring Valley school has in connection an agricultural department, established under the "Putnam Act" and the special state aid for this department is $2,500. The Chatfield school has an agricultural department, established under the "Benson-Lee Act," and the state aid is $1,000. At Spring Valley, Preston, and Harmony are normal departments, for the training of teachers and the special aid is $750.
There are four graded schools; located at Peterson, Fountain, Wycoff, and Canton, each with four departments. There are four semi-graded schools, at Whelan, Prosper, Granger and Ostrander, each with two departments. The others are one-room schools, fourteen of which have an enrollment of less than ten pupils, fifty-three with from ten to twenty pupils.
The largest enrollment is 51 pupils, in district 94, Fillmore township, and the smallest is 2, in district 113, Spring Valley township. The average length of school in months, for 1910-11, was eight and one half months. Eighteen schools had nine months of school. During the year 1911, 88 pupils, of the common school districts, received diplomas certifying that they had completed eighth grade studies with credit and the graduating exercises were held in Preston. During the same year, local, township, and county spelling contests were held.
Many of the schools are well equipped with those things which are required for efficient work. Many of the schoolhouses are new and the old ones are in good state of repair. Nearly all the schools have libraries and free textbooks.
The teachers' training schools and institutes which are conducted in the county do much to increase the efficiency of the teachers. These schools are paid for by the state and are conducted under the direction of the county superintendent and a conductor appointed by the superintendent of public instruction. Instruction is given in methods of teaching and in the subjects required for teachers' certificates.
School Progress. Up to 1875, Fillmore was the most populous county in the state. The next year, Hennepin county forged ahead. From the settlement of the county up to 1877 there was a constant growth in school population. In 1877 the high-water mark was reached with 8,836 pupils in school attendance. The present attendance is 6,492.
In 1881 the state began to encourage education in the common schools with a system of state aid, which has been a wonderful boon to education throughout the state.
Thirty years ago there were practically no books for the children to read-no books of any kind furnished by the school districts. Now there are many libraries of over 150 books in the schools of the county. In the graded and high schools the average is between twelve and fifteen hundred volumes, and in the rural schools the average is between seventy-five and one hundred volumes. All the graded and high schools furnish free books to all grades of pupils, and the system of free textbooks in the rural districts is almost as complete. Twenty-five years ago only one school in the county had any system of ventilation in it. Now all the high schools, graded schools and semi-graded schools as well as several others have an excellent system of ventilation.
The rural schools are forging to the head. Basement furnaces and other approved methods of heating and ventilation are fast taking the place of the old stove in the center of the room.
Some change may also be noted in the form and style of school architecture. There are three graded or high school buildings and several rural school buildings of recent construction, carrying out the idea of light on one side of the building, and following other modern ideas of construction.
The log structure was the earliest type of a rural schoolhouse. Following this primitive structure came the conventional form of frame buildings. It was always an oblong building with windows on each side, and sometimes on one or both ends. The stove was always in the center of the room, with a raised platform on one end of the room for the teacher and her desk. This is the general form that has prevailed everywhere since the building of rural schoolhouses began.
In 1896, district No. 2, in Newburg township, voted to build a new schoolhouse, and the school board asked the assistance of K. W. Buell, county superintendent, in the drawing of plans. They had voted but $600.00 and this naturally entailed some limitations. But the board were young men and they wanted a modern building. Their desire resulted in the first "side light" school in the county. The windows are all on the north side, there is no platform to add to the number of steps a teacher must take, and the house is warmed and ventilated by a suitable furnace in the basement. The house cost, when finished, about $650.00 and the school board which had the courage at that time to break away from the traditional type of a country school-house consisted of N. S. Nelson, A. G. Austin and P. P. Thompson.
While the officers in district 2 have the credit of being the first in the county to adopt the more modern ideas and plans, there have been several other rural schools built in the county following the same idea of side lighting, but enlarging and improving on that plan in other particulars.
The recent buildings are at Rushford, Spring Valley and Harmony, and Lanesboro is now building an addition to the main building. In the following rural districts new schoolhouses have been built in recent years: District 11, Preble; 27, Amherst; 58, Pilot Mound; 124, Sumner; 129, Preston, and 180, Bloomfield.
The best types of the more modernized schoolhouses are found in district 136, Preston; district 131, Bristol; in the two-room building north of Prosper; in districts 124, Sumner; 180, Bloomfield; 27, Amherst; 11, Preble, and 58, Pilot Mound. These buildings are side lighted and warmed and ventilated with a furnace system.
To the village of Mabel belongs the credit of erecting the first modern styled graded school building in the county. The modern, single lighted graded schools in the county are at Peterson, Preston, Prosper, Mabel, Harmony and Rushford.
A marked evolution in the school work of the county is seen in the efforts now made to give the teachers some special training for their work. At the time of retiring from office, twenty-five years ago, Superintendent John Brady spoke of the teachers' associations and teachers' institutes and how inadequate they were to accomplish the work of the teachers' special preparation. Up to the year 1889, the only special training the rural school teachers obtained, with a very few exceptions, came through such associations. The state provided for each county a five days' institute once a year; all other means of improvement must come through the teachers' own unaided efforts. When Emma Allen, now Mrs. John C. Mills, became county superintendent of the schools of Fillmore county she observed, as Superintendent Brady had, the great need in the rural schools of a better preparation of teachers than was then afforded. In July, 1889, Mrs. Mills organized the first training school for teachers ever held in the county. The school was held in Spring Valley and was in session four weeks. J. T. McCleary, later congressman, and Mrs. Almira S. Beede assisted in conducting the school. It was so largely attended and the results were so thoroughly appreciated and beneficial that another school of the same nature was held in Preston the following year.
In the year 1891, the summer school idea had grown so throughout the state that the legislature of that year was prevailed upon to establish as a part of the educational system of the state, the state county summer training schools for teachers. It will be remembered that the first two schools of this kind the county ever had were paid for wholly by the teachers attending. Since that time the expenses of the schools are paid by county and state.
First Districts Created. The first school district established in Fillmore county was on July 9, 1853, when the Minnesota City School District was created. This was outside of the present limits of the county.
The first school district established within the present limits of Fillmore county was district 2, as it was then known. This was created on April 7, 1854. Four districts were created on that day in the order named below:
Second District - This district, created at the request of W. E. Picket, embraced sections 4, 5, 8, 9, 16 and 17, in what is now Carimona township (102-11).
Third District - This district was created at the request of James M. Sumner and R. M. Foster, and embraced sections 6, 7 and 18 in what is now Carimona (102-11) and sections 1, 12 and 13 in what is now Forestville (102-12).
Fourth District - This district was created at the request of J. W. Elliot and consisted of all the present township of Harmony and the western half of what is now the township of Canton.
First District - This district was created at the request of James McClelland, Jr., and consisted of what are now Jordan (104-12) and Chatfield (104-11) and the two townships north of this in what is now Olmsted county (105-11 and 105-12).
School lands consisted of sections 16 and 36 in each township. On November 7, 1854, the commissioners passed an act that all persons then living on school lands should give a bond in the penal sum of $500.00 as an evidence of their intention to purchase the land when it came on the market, and the county clerk was instructed to bring suit against anyone cutting wood on school land or in any way impairing the value of such land.
The school districts were rearranged January 2, 1855.
District 1. This district, established at the request of Joseph Bisby and others, contained sections 6, 7, 8, 17 and 18 in Carimona (102-11) and sections 1, 2, 11, 12, 13 and 14 in Forestville (102-12). The district was altered later in the day to contain the west halves of sections 5, 8 and 17, and all of 6, 7 and 18 in Carimona and sections 1, 2, 11, 12, 13 and 14 in Forestville.
District 2 consisted of sections 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 33, 34 and 35 in Spring Valley (103-13).
District 3 took in sections 3 and 4, the east half of 5 and the east half of 8, and the east half of 17, and all of 9, 10, 15 and 16 in Carimona (102-11).
District 4 took in sections 6 and 7 in Newburg (101-8), sections 30 and 31 and the west halves of sections 29 and 32 in Preble (102-8), sections 1 and 12, Canton (101-9) and sections 25 and 36 in Amherst (102-9).
District 5 consisted of territory in township 105, ranges 11 and 12, outside the present limits of Fillmore county.
District 6 took in the east halves of sections 5, 8 and 17, and all of sections 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 16 in Chatfield (104-11).
Chatfield district took in the west halves of 5 and 8 and all of 6 and 7 in Chatfield (104-11) and sections 1 and 12 in Jordan (104-12) as well as a few sections to the north in what is now Olmsted county.
District 7 was created February 20, 1855, at the request of John H. Main. It embraced sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 in township 103-12, (now Fillmore); and sections 19, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, 30, 19, 20, 21 and 22, in 104-13 (now Jordan).
District 8 was created April 3, 1855. It embraced the east half of section 32 and the west half of section 33, in 102-8 (now Preble), and sections 5, 8, 17 and 18, and the west halves of sections 4, 9 and 16, in 101-8 (now Newburg).
District 9 was created April 3, 1855 and embraced sections 19, 30 and 31 in 102-10 (now Preston), and sections 23, 24, 25, 26, 35 and 36 in 102-11 (now Carimona).
District 10 was created April 3, 1855 and consisted of sections 27, 28, 33 and 34 in 103-11 (now Fountain).
District 6 was dissolved April 3, 1855, and sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in 104-11 (now Chatfield) were added to the Chatfield village district. However the act was doubtless passed without due thought, for the west halves of sections 5 and 7, and all of sections 6 and 7 were already in Chatfield district.
District 11 was created July 2, 1855, and consisted of sections 5, 4 and the west half of 3 in 101-9 (now Canton), and sections 32, 33, and the west half of 34 in 102-9 (now Amherst).
Before the close of 1855, sixteen numbered school districts and one village school had been created.
January 12, 1856, a tax having been collected in Fillmore county, it was voted by the county board to allow $1.00 for each scholar in actual attendance in the regularly organized district schools of the county. The report rendered from the different clerks showed the following scholars in the various districts: Chatfield, 79; District 1, 48; District 3, 24; District 4, 51; District 7, 63; District 8, 31; District 9, 50; District 10, 27; District 12, 33. Although various claims are made as to schools in various parts of the county in the early days, these few were the only ones who presented any claim for county funds, and it is fairly safe to say, were the only schools in existence in Fillmore county in the closing months of 1855.
Before January 1, 1857, the numbered districts in the county totalled [sic] 51, and in addition there was one unnumbered district, Chatfield, making 52 in all.
The First Schoolhouse. William Willford is the author of a pamphlet dealing with the first structure built exclusively for school purposes in Fillmore county. From this pamphlet the following information has been gathered.
In Fillmore county, fifty years ago, the establishment of schools and places for stated religious meetings were coeval with the formation of every settlement, or at least attended to as soon as the pioneers had secured proper shelter for themselves in inclement weather, and provided their families with the means of daily subsistence. The schoolhouses, like the primitive cabins, were roughly constructed, but in some of them, men whose mental endowments and ripe scholarship have raised them to eminence in after life, received the first rudiments of education.
Early in the spring of 1854, the early settlers residing in the northeast part of township 101, range 9, (Canton) the south half of township 102, range 9, (Amherst) and the northwest part of township 101, range 8, (Newburg) made arrangements with Elijah Austin who resided on the west half of section 11, 101, 9, (Canton) to get their mail once a week from Burr Oak postoffice in Winneshiek county, Iowa, which was on the Brink & Walker stage route from Dubuque to St. Paul until a postoffice could be established and a postmaster appointed on Richland Prairie, Minnesota. In April of that year, a number of settlers who had families, happened to meet at the residence of Elijah Austin at the same time to receive mail, when one of the settlers brought up the subject of doing something toward the establishment of a school. After a general discussion of the subject, a day was agreed upon to meet to locate a site for a schoolhouse, and make the necessary arrangements for the erection of a building. On the day set for the meeting at the residence of Elijah Austin, about all the settlers residing near where Lenora now stands were present, their names and place of residence being as follows: Ethan P. Eddy, section one, township 101, range 9, pioneer of 1853; William Bly, section six, 101, 8, pioneer of 1853; Andrew W. Gray, section six, 101, 8, pioneer of 1853; Thomas Gilbert, Sr., section one, 101, 9, pioneer of 1854; Nelson Darling, section eleven, 101, 9, pioneer of 1853; Austin Eastman, section fourteen, 101, 9, pioneer of 1854; Warren J. Howell, section ten, 101, 9, pioneer of 1854; Silas Pennock, section ten, 101, 9, pioneer of 1854; Elijah Austin, section eleven, 101, 9, pioneer of 1853; _______ Church, section fifteen, 101, 9, pioneer of 1853; _______ Benham, section eleven, 101, 9 pioneer of 1853; B. F. Tillotson, section four, 101, 9, pioneer of 1853; Michael Onstine, Sr., section thirty-five, 102, 9, pioneer of 1853; T. J. Eames, section nine, 101, 9, pioneer of 1853. The site selected was on the northeast corner of the northwest quarter of section eleven, 101, 9, where the village of Lenora now stands, being on land then claimed by Elijah Austin. The size of the house agreed upon was twenty feet wide by twenty-six feet long. An estimate was then made of the number of logs and the material required to build the house. An assessment was made on each person for material to be furnished on the ground, giving the number of logs, size and length that each man had to deliver. Also, a small fee in cash was assessed on each man to buy windows, boards for floor, ceiling and door, nails, and the like. When the material had been delivered on the ground, a day was appointed for the raising. On that day, when the pioneers had collected for the raising, the first thing done was the election of four good axemen for corner men, as they were called, whose business it was to notch the logs the rest of the company furnished them, with the timbers on the building. In the meantime, the logs that were furnished for the clapboards were sawed the proper lengths, and split with a frow for the roof. The door was made by cutting an opening about three feet wide in the east end, near the northeast corner, and made secure by upright pieces of timber about three inches thick through which holes were bored into the ends of the logs for the purpose of pinning them fast. Openings were cut in the sides of the buildings for windows. Two windows, eight by ten glass, with twelve lights in each window, were placed on each side of the house in a horizontal position, the two windows meeting in the center, making the glass space twenty-four inches in height, and eighty inches in length on each side.
The lumber for the door, floor and ceiling was sawed by Mr. Morse, the owner of a small sawmill on the Iowa river, at Bluffton, in Winneshiek county, Iowa. The work was pushed forward rapidly, with Ethan P. Eddy (who was a carpenter) as the architect. Soon the house was ready for the furniture, such as writing desks, seats, and the like. The writing desks were placed on the sides of the building to obtain the light from the windows. They were made by boring two-inch auger holes in one of the logs on each side of the building, about two feet and nine inches from the floor, at an angle, so that the inner edge of the desk was about three inches lower than the outer. Hardwood sticks was driven tightly in the auger holes and projected out from the wall far enough to support the desk board, which was about fourteen inches wide. On the top of the desk board next to the wall, a four-inch strip was nailed on a level, on which the pupils could place their ink bottles. The seats were made of small basswood trees, cut about twelve feet long and split; the flat side dressed smooth with the axe and drawing knife. In these seat-pieces were one-and-one-half inch holes bored to receive the legs which were driven in from the round side, and cut off to make the seat the proper height from the floor. The pupils, when engaged in writing, had their faces turned towards the wall, or side of the house, and when not engaged in writing had their faces turned to the center of the school room and making use of the edge of the desk board as a rest to their backs.
No doubt the youth of the twentieth century, who are attending school in magnificent buildings furnished with the best of modern school furniture, may think this description of a schoolhouse and furniture in Fillmore county fifty years ago of a fictitious nature, but, nevertheless, we know it to be the unvarnished truth. The pupils, fifty years ago, had good backs and plenty of good backbone, which was needed in the early fifties to make good territorial pioneers.
After the desks and seats were made, the cracks between the logs were filled with split sticks and plastered with lime and sand mortar, which completed the building. This schoolhouse stood alone on the high rolling land of Richland Prairie, which was very pleasant and beautiful in the summer time, but bleak and cold in the winter season, and some what remote from water, so that the scholars had to go more than a half a mile to obtain water to quench their thirst. To guard against the children getting lost on the prairie, when going to and returning from school, some of the settlers plowed a furrow from their place of residence over the prairie to the schoolhouse to guide the children. Immediately after the completion of the schoolhouse, a three-months term of school was commenced, which was the first school conducted in a schoolhouse built in Fillmore county. It was taught by Lucinda Miller, now Mrs. L. M. Onstine, of Chatfield, in the summer of 1854. When Miss Miller contracted to teach this school, she agreed to board around with the scholars as was customary in the country schools at that time. There were thirty scholars that attended this term of school. They were: Lucinda A. Church, 12 years; Harriet L. Austin, 9; Ira A. Church, 9; Isaac A. Benham, 10; William A. Church, 7; George N. Benham, 7; Elijah Austin, 13; James A. Austin, 11; Mary C. Benham, 4; Judson Bly, 8; Henry Tillotson, 9; Cyrus Tillotson, 7; Maria Darling, 13; James M. Darling, 7; Emily Darling, 11; Marietta Pennock, 16; Clarissa E. Eddy (Gilmore) 8; Celia E. Eddy (Streator) 6; James Gilbert, 9; John Gilbert, 8; Mary Gray (Cody) 6; Josephine Gray (Ham) 4; Oscar Streator, 10; Hannah Onstine (Willford) 13; Sarah Onstine (Kellogg) 11; Rebecca Onstine (Rising) 7; Edwin Darling, 15; Albert Darling, 14; Phoebe A. Pennock (Goudy) 11.
The second term of school in the Richland Prairie schoolhouse was three months in the winter of 1854 and 1855, Warren J. Howell, later a member of the Minnesota territorial legislature being the teacher. The third term was of three months in the summer of 1855, Mary Ann Peacock being the teacher. The fourth term was also of three months, commencing on December 11, 1855, and closing March 9, 1856. The teacher was William Willford, who received eighteen dollars for a month of twenty-one teaching days and boarded himself.
First School in Organized District. What is said to have been the first school in an organized district in Fillmore county was then in Forestville village, taught in 1855. The district is now No. 90. January 2, 1855, this district became No. 1. Before this school had been taught in the home of Joseph Bisby, in North Forestville, by his daughter, Minerva Bisbee. This was a select school. In 1855 a log schoolhouse was erected in South Forestville, and the teachers there were Leonard Bonesteele, and Maria Flynn. In 1856 a brick shoolhouse [sic] was built in section 13, the foundations of which are still standing. This schoolhouse was erected from brick burned in the first brick yard in Fillmore county, John Gill having been secured from Ohio for the express purpose of making brick for the schoolhouse and for the Foster & Meighen store and the Felix Meighen home. The first teacher in this brick schoolhouse was Milford Benham. Mr. Benham later took a claim in Carimona township. He is still living and not long ago visited the old settlers of Fillmore county some of whom were his pupils. This school reached its height in the late sixties under the tuition of Robert B. Brown, at which time it was known as the best school in the county. The story of his coming here is most interesting. Major D. E. Runals, who was a clerk in the Forestville store enlisted in the Union army and was wounded while acting as orderly for Col. Bishop. In the hospital he was placed near a young man of his own age, who was also wounded, and during their confinement in the hospital a warm friendship sprang up between them. They accordingly agreed to attend school together in New York state after the war. In 1866 Mr. Brown came to Forestville to visit Mr. Runals, and was entertained in the house of Felix Meighen. Mr. Meighen took a liking to the young man and persuaded him to stay and teach the Forestville school. He was a college man of broad attainments, and his three terms' tuition left an impression that has never been forgotten. During his vacations he engaged in the contracting business with Charles E. Evans. He was offered the position of superintendent of county schools and principal of the Spring Valley schools, but declined both. Returning to Zanesville, Ohio, near which place he was born, he became city editor of the "Zanesville Courier." Later he became owner and active manager. His ability attracted attention, and the soldiers in time honored him by making him commander of the Ohio department of the G. A. R. Later he became commander of the National G. A. R., and since that time has remained a national figure of considerable importance. Mr. Runals has been for many years a prominent and respected resident of Pipestone county, in this state.
Spelling Schools in Pioneer Days. After the great accession of immigrants to Fillmore county in 1856, school districts were formed in neighborhoods where the settlers were numerous enough to support a school, and log cabins were erected as schoolhouses. During the winter terms of the district schools in the southeastern part of Fillmore county in the early days of its settlement, evening spelling schools were quite common, and each district held on an average one spelling school each week. The excitement grew stronger as time passed, and soon many intensely interesting contests were held between rival schools to win the championship which was at that period of time considered an honor to the winning spellers and their teachers as well as to the districts in which the winning spellers resided. The excitement continued to grow year after year among the scholars of the different schools until the patrons of the district schools began to manifest a like interest. After the older ones had caught the infection the excitement grew to be intense. The teachers who had shown their indifference during the time the scholars and patrons of the several districts were engaged as disputants in the hotly conested [sic] spelling schools could no longer resist the temptation and resolutely joined in the melee and from this time on the battle was waged and continued to a finish. There are tricks in all trades and professions, and the teachers used this axiom in conducting the spelling school in order to win the championship for their respective schools. The spelling book used at this period of time was "Webster's Elementary Speller," which is perhaps unknown to the present generation. When a spelling school was announced to be held in a rival school district, distance was not considered, provided it did not exceed fifteen miles, and the temperature was not more than thirty-five degrees below zero. The contestants in these rival spelling schools in the early history of Fillmore county have nearly all done their work and crossed the. Divide. But yet, there are left, "Old Pedagogue," the Preston Times correspondent from Partridge Creek, A. D. Gray, a prominent attorney of Fillmore county, and William Willford, proprietor of Floral Park Farm, to tell of the early days spelling schools in southeastern Fillmore county.
School Superintendent. Up to 1864 no well defined management of schools existed. In speculating on the best system, the legislature created first a town superintendency [sic], then an examiner for each commissioner district, and lastly one general superintendent for each county. Under this E. J. Thompson was appointed June 10, 1864, at a salary of $800. September 9, of the same year, $200 was added. At the time Mr. Thompson was appointed, 137 school districts had been created in the county. Of these, however, it is evident that only sixty-six were conducting schools at that time, for that is the number appearing in the county financial report of that year. Mr. Thompson's salary was raised from $1,000 to $1,300, and then to $1,350. He resigned April 3, 1867, and G. J. Sanderson was appointed at a salary of $1,000. In 1869, Rev. D. L. Keihle was appointed. At first the commissioners determined to pay him by the day and allow him a certain sum for each mile traveled. Later his salary was fixed at $1,200 a year. Rev. Keihle served from April 1, 1869, to July 1, 1875. When he resigned D. W. Sprague was appointed. He served until the close of 1877. John Brady was superintendent from January, 1878, to January, 1887. Emma Allen, now Mrs. John C. Mills, the only woman superintendent of the county, served from January, 1887, to January, 1891. Then K. W. Buell served until January, 1907, followed by Oscar Carlson, the present superintendent.
Early Schools. In the following summary of the schools of the various townships, no effort has been made to give a history of the districts up to the present time. Such an effort would require a volume by itself. The object in presenting the following facts is to preserve something of the beginning of each district in the county, and to relate if possible, the erecting of the first building in each district.
Summer. The first school in this township was taught in what was then district 25, in the winter of 1855-56.
District 118.-This district was organized in 1864, with the following officers elected: director, Chester Hart; clerk, G. B. Hendricks, and treasurer, R. Vandel. School was first held by Polly Layman in Chester Hart's granary, and afterwards in various places until 1866, when a schoolhouse was erected in the southeast corner of section two. Prior to the organization of the district a subscription school was held in a log hut by Mary Brady, which had twelve scholars in attendance. This was in the year 1860.
District 119.-This district really received its organization in 1864, but after the organizing steps were taken, matters of the district stood at one point until 1876, when the organization, in a practical sense, commenced. In the year 1876, a meeting was held at the house of Z. D. Lassell, and the following gentlemen were made officers: director, Z. D. Lassell; treasurer, Edwin Todd; clerk, W. H. Kendall. The same spring their schoolhouse was erected in the northwest corner of section ten, and the first school taught by Martha Wooldridge.
District 120.-In 1867, a meeting was held at the house of W. B. Randall, on section six, which organized this district, and the following were the first officers: treasurer, Edson Owen; director, David Jolley, and clerk, W. B. Randall. Frances Amelia Owen was the first to call school to order after the organization of the district. Their schoolhouse was erected in the southwest corner of section five, at a cost of $600. Previous to this organization a select school had been held for a number of years on section six, taught by Miss P.
Stewart. District 121.-This was the first district in the township to receive organization, which was effected November, 1857, at the house of W. W. Parkinson. The officers first elected were: H. M. C. Ballow, Richard Freeman, I. M. Choate and Walter Woodmansee. The following spring $600 was appropriated to build a schoolhouse, and the contractor instead of following instructions, put up one at the cost of $1,200. This made the district considerable trouble, besides involving them in a law suit which was decided against them, the carpenter succeeded in getting judgment for the amount. The first school was taught by I. M. Choate in his house, in the winter of 1856-57. In the fall of 1858, a school was taught by Nathial Parker, the district being then known as No. 30.
District 122.-The organization was effected at a meeting held in the house of Martin Ricker in 1862. The first school was taught by Ferdinand Stevens in 1863. A new schoolhouse was erected in 1874, the first floor being constructed as a town hall.
District 123.-This was the second district in the town, being organized in the winter of 1857. A log house was built by subscription in 1860, which lasted until it was destroyed by fire in 1876. A brick house was erected soon after, in 1876, at a cost of $800, in the southeast corner of section fourteen. The first teacher to preside in this district was Martha Quill.
District 124.-The house now in use by the citizens of this district stands in section twenty-five.
District 125.-This district is claimed to have been partially organized in 1855, and a schoolhouse was erected that year, the size of which was 24x36 feet, and cost $600. A frame structure, 26x34 feet, was erected in 1869 at a cost of $800, in the eastern part of section thirty-three. The first schoolhouse built by the district was destroyed by fire.
District 126. (Joint.) This flourishing district was also organized about 1857, their house being built about this time by S. P. Green, on section 30. As the trustees of the district refused to accept the building he attached it on a carpenter's lien and moved it to section 29, where it was used for religious purposes by the Methodists. Later a schoolhouse was built in the center of section 30.
District 127. (Joint.) This is the Hamilton district, and embraces the locality surrounding the hamlet. A schoolhouse erected in the hamlet at a cost of $1,000 was at one time considered the best in that part of the county.
The Bronson Institute. This institution which was designed to make Hamilton a college center was to have occupied toward Northwestern Methodism and scholarship, the same position now occupied by the Hamlin University. The institution never outgrew its infancy. A pamphlet published in 1858 says of it: "Hamilton has been fixed upon as the site of the Bronson Institute and the necessary buildings are to be erected this season. A subscription of $5,000 has already been made by private individuals, which with another $5,000 donated by the founder, Rev. Alfred Bronson, of Prairie du Chien, will be sufficient to build and furnish a suitable edifice for the purpose of this institution. It is designed to be an academical school of the first class under the control of the Methodist Episcopal denomination. The school has been opened in advance of the building in the Methodist Episcopal church by T. J. Lake and L. H. Carhart, associate teachers, and is now entered upon its third quarter. The number of pupils ranges from seventy to eighty.
Jordan District 97. This came into existence in 1855, at the house of A. Palmer, and that same year a schoolhouse was got up on section 32, which served a good purpose until it was sold in 1870, for $20. While it stood it was used for a town hall, and for a general meeting house, as well as for schools. A new house was built the last mentioned year, at a cost of about $1,800. Mrs. Maroline Whittaker was the first to commence a school in the new house.
District 98. The earliest school here was in the house of Mrs. Mackey, on section 20, in 1858, although the district is said to have been defined in 1856. Jane Green presided over the first school. The first house was put up with logs by the people of the district, and a subscription secured the shingles and windows, the first teacher in the new schoolhouse was Sedate Pebbles. In 1876 a new one was erected of brick, with a stone foundation, the whole costing $1,400. Isaac Bergen was the man to inaugurate the brick schoolhouse.
District 99. In 1855 this district was defined and organized, and a school building erected the first year, the farmers furnishing the logs, and all turning out on a given day and putting up the structure on section 5. Susan Rucker was the first to attempt to teach. In 1860 this schoolhouse was burned and the school was suspended until 1864, when a building on section 8 was erected.
District 100. In the winter of 1857 a school was opened in this district, the schoolhouse being built that year in the usual way by voluntary contributions, on section 24. Jerusha W. Thatcher seems to have been the first teacher. The first building was used until 1875, and then a substantial brick edifice was completed at a cost of $825.
District 101. The first school here was in the summer of 1858. H. T. Wilson conducted the school. The house was built of those logs. Each man in the district subscribed so many logs, so many nails, a window, a board or two, and so the house went up. This was the shortest way to get a school building, and imposed a lighter burden than any other method, and so it was usually adopted. A new building was put up here in 1870 in section 26. District 176 was created in the eighties. The schoolhouse is in the northwest part of section 10.
District 179. The commissioners created this district March 7, 1893, out of districts 83, 100 and 176. It consists of sections 1, 2, 11 and 12, and the schoolhouse is in the northwest part of section 12.
Chatfield. The Chatfield Academy. This collegiate institute was incorporated February 25, 1856, and organized May 29, 1858. The trustees were H. B. Morse, J. H. McKenny, C. B. G. Jones, C. M. Lovell, Charles Wilson, Augustus Haven, Wm. B. Gere, E. D. Holt, T. J. Safford, J. R. Jones, R. W. Twitchell, G. W. Willis, F. G. Raymond, Isaac Day and C. G. Hawley. The officers were: President, J. R. Jones; secretary, H. B. Morse; treasurer, G. W. Willis; executive committee, Augustus Haven, J. H. McKenney and R. W. Twitchell. J. W. Bishop was the first principal and Miss Knights, assistant. It was opened on the first of September, 1858. As the academy filled up, new educational facilities were offered. Rev. G. W. Fuller was instructor in Latin and Greek. Drs. Isaac Cole and Luke Miller lectured on anatomy, physiology and hygiene. There were within a year sixty-two students. In March, 1869, Professor T. E. Thickston, of Pennsylvania, was appointed principal. This educational institution went on for some years, but was finally superseded by the public schools of the state. The Chatfield Graded School (district 81, joint) was organized about 1865. A schoolhouse was contracted for in 1864, and was of two stories, 24x33 feet, and cost $3,000. Another building was erected in 1879, at a cost of about $400. Primary No. 2 was erected in 1880, at a cost of $300. Thus started the present excellent school system of the city of Chatfield, which is described elsewhere.
District 83. This is reported as the first district in town to be regularly organized, outside of the village, which was in the fall of 1858, with the following named officers: Director, Joseph Caw; clerk, Peter Johnson; treasurer, George W. Sawyer. In the spring of 1859 a log schoolhouse was built on land donated by Sabin Woodward, in section 17; it was 18x22 feet and cost $200. Miss Hill, later Mrs. Hanson Woodward, was the first teacher. This house was occupied up to 1872, when a brick building was constructed on section 18 at a cost of $1,500.
District 82. In 1862 this district was introduced into existence, with the following officers: Director, Patrick McGrand; clerk, Michael King; treasurer, Martin Breman. In the summer of 1863 the first school was gathered into the granary of Andrew Galbreath, on section 2, and Lizzie Galbreath was delegated to teach. The next winter the school was held in the house, where seventeen pupils congregated. The next spring an acre of land was procured by Thomas Parsley for $15, and a schoolhouse 18x24 feet was built on section 14. In 1876 an addition to this, 10x24 feet, was made. Laura Barber was the first to handle the ferule in the schoolhouse, with twenty-five scholars. In 1877 a new district was formed from this and called district No. 128. The headquarters of this district are in section 2, where the schoolhouse is located. The first teacher was Miss Stewart.
District 84. The next district to be organized was this one, on September 11, 1859. On October 21 the officers were elected as follows: Director, Daniel S. Hoit; clerk, M. O. Camp; treasurer, R. H. Findley. A tax of $75 was levied to build a log schoolhouse, which was erected on section 27, and O. Compton was the initial teacher. In May, 1862, the number of the district was changed from a previous number to No. 84. In the spring of 1867 it was divided into two districts, the other being numbered 147. The old district built a new schoolhouse on section 25, a frame building 18x26 feet, at a cost of $600, which was completed in 1868. After the sub-division the first teacher was Mattie Shaw, in a house owned by John Jacobs. Mary King called the first school to order in the new schoolhouse. District 147 was set off as above indicated, in 1867, and the first officers were: Director, Navin Wright; clerk, D. C. Cartlich; treasurer, Thomas Sawyer. The first school was held in the house of the clerk, with D. D. Ferrall in charge. The next year a log house was built, 16x24 feet, on section 21, on land owned by George Goldsmith, and Minnie Sawyer was the teacher. District 85 was organized in 1863 with the following officers: Director, W. Brown; clerk, M. W. Rooney; treasurer, D. W. Breese. Mrs. Lucy Brown opened a school in her own house in 1860, and in 1862, the citizens rolled a few logs together, and there they laid until 1863, when a frame building went up in section 32 at a cost of $600. Here Mrs. Brown also taught. In 1878 another house was built. Harry Armstrong was the first to teach in this building. District 173 was organized February 19, 1878. The officers were: Director, I. Fay; clerk, George M. Farrington; treasurer, H. F. Douchey. A frame house was built, 16x20 feet, in 1877, on land owned by A. W. Fargo, in section 31. Maud McFaul was the first instructor, with twenty pupils. This district includes a part of the town of Jordan.
District 161. This district was set off in 1868, and two terms of school were taught in the house of James A. Scott, Ida Barber presiding. In 1870 the schoolhouse was erected on section 4, Fountain, at an expense of $260. The school is now located in section 34, Chatfield township.
Pilot Mound. District 55. In 1856 a school was taught in the house of Frank Whitney, and his wife was the teacher. This was in section 10, and there were a dozen or more scholars. A log schoolhouse was built in 1856, on the land of H. Jones, in section 10, Mrs. Whitney, the same teacher, also was the first to officiate here. In about 1867 this building, having outlasted its usefulness, was replaced by another, which cost $1,200.
District 56. The school bearing this number was organized in March, 1857, at the house of H. R. Rouse, when a site was agreed upon for the schoolhouse, which was to be within eighty-five rods of the geographical center of the district. A tax of $106 was raised to build the schoolhouse, and it was to be ready for occupancy by the first of June that year. Nelson Frost, Henry A. Spicer and Isaac Dickinson were chosen trustees. The house was of logs, in section 8, on land owned by N. Frost. The school was opened by Marietta Smith. This may have been the first schoolhouse in town. It had a dirt roof and it was not uncommon to see snakes on the top of the house which was green with grass. This educational institution served its purpose until 1869, when a new one was built in section 7. Dills J. Mann was the first teacher there.
District 57. As near as can be learned the first school opened in this district was at the residence of Nels Thorson in 1857. Lewis Everson taught in the Norsk tongue. The next year a regular "bee" was held, and a log cabin put up and dignified by the name of schoolhouse. In 1878 or 1879 an edifice was constructed in section 31. The first teacher to teach in the English language in this district was H. H. Hayden.
District 58. In the autumn of 1862 a house was bought of Peter Berg, in section 26, for a schoolhouse, and school was commenced with J. H. Burrell as teacher, with twelve or fourteen scholars. In 1871 a schoolhouse was put up in section 24, on land owned by Peter Berg. The house cost about $400. District 139 was organized in 1866 at the house of Asa Smith. Mary Green first called the school to order, and kept the first term. In the summer of 1867 the first schoolhouse was built at a cost of $900. While the building was going up a school was kept in a log cabin formerly used by John Ellsbury.
District 159. This district, in 1877, was organized from four other districts. The meeting for organizing was held on October 3 at the house of Charles Egge. Otto Haug was elected director; Carl Egge, treasurer; Nels T. Borgen, clerk. The schoolhouse was built in section 21, at a cost of $350, and the school opened on January 1, 1878, William McKeown being the initial teacher.
Arendahl. The first school in town was in the Norsk language and was taught by A. E. Boyum, in private houses in the winter of 1857 and 1858. The first school in English was taught in District No. 36.
District 35. The earliest school taught in this district was in a log church by Christina Thompson, later married to A. Anderson. In 1867 a frame building was put up.
District 164. In 1872 a stone schoolhouse was built at a cost of $500, 17x23 feet. Robert W. Butler was the first to teach in the building.
District 166. In this district, teaching began in the Norwegian language in 1864. The teacher was Andrew O. Olnestad. In 1871 the schoolhouse was built, L. O. Olnestad being the teacher at that time. District 36. This district was early organized, and in 1862 a log edifice, 18x22, was up and served the purpose until 1873, when a structure was erected 20x34 feet.
Rushford. Rushford Schools. This independent district was created by a charter in 1868, but was not organized until February 20, 1869, and in March the following persons were elected as officers: Niles Carpenter, Joseph Otis, John C. Smith, John Hobart, Joseph E. Atwater and George B. Parker. The first teacher was G. W. Kemp, a medical student, who, during the second term, was taken sick and went home to die in Indiana. In 1879 the large schoolhouse being insufficient, a new one was built for the primary department. This district was made up from the old county district No. 16 and succeeded to the property. Thus began the public school history of Rushford city, which is given elsewhere. The first school taught here was a private one by Mrs. Henry Mead, in her own house on the south side of Rushford avenue, in the winter of 1857-58. The first public school was opened by Miss Waters on Monday, February 1, 1858, in a claim shanty built by Mrs. Nims, about three-fourths of a mile north of the postoffice.
District 18. The first school held here was in the basement of the house of Joshua Emery, in section 2, in the summer of 1857, and was taught by Martha Emery, who a few months afterward was married to H. Stage. The school was continued here for several years. In 1859 an attempt was made to build a schoolhouse, and those interested got out some timber and hewed it, and actually commenced work on the building, which was located where the Catholic cemetery was later laid out, but the poverty of the settlers compelled them to abandon the work. In 1867, they succeeded in erecting a frame building, in section 2, at a cost of about $500.
District 160. The first school in this district was a small one of logs in section 6, on the land now owned by G. Olson. In 1878 a large frame building was constructed in section 7, on the farm of R. Torsons, at a cost of between $400 and $500.
District 146. The first school here was held in a granary belonging to Otis Batrick in section 15, and here the school was taught up to 1866, when a frame house was built. Eva Walker taught the first school.
District 154 (joint). The first school was held in the granary of Hans Hanson, in section 25, in 1880, and the same year a frame house was built at a cost of about $300. The first term was taught by Tilda Oldhouse, of Rushford.
District 144. The first school in this district was taught in the year 1866 by Nancy Willet, the district having been organized the previous year. The school was in a small shanty. The first board elected was composed of the following gentlemen: George A. Hayse, A. T. Benson and W. F. Gates. In the year 1870 it was decided to build a new house, which was done on lot 7, South Rushford, at a cost of $1,000. It is known as the South Rushford school.
District 17. This is the Peterson district and was established in 1856. It was at first No. 42, and took six sections from this town and six from Arendahl. The earliest history of this district is rather obscure, but a school seems to have been kept in a log building built for that purpose on the land of Peter Peterson Haslerud, where the village of Peterson now is. Here it was held until a frame house was put up in 1870, on the land of Easton and Barton, in section 29 on the west side of the river. The cost was about $500. The present Peterson school, which covers the work of the usual graded schools, and also does two years of high school work, was erected in 1900 at a cost of $5,000.
Norway. District 15. The first school inaugurated in this district was in the house of Andrew Peterson in section twenty-eight, in 1859 or 1860. The instructor was G. A. Highland. The first schoolhouse was a log structure, 16x20 feet, in section 29.
District 13. The first building for school purposes was erected in 1859, and was 14x16 feet. The first teacher was Hannah Onstine. The location was in section 15. A new house, 20x36, was later erected at a cost of $850.
District 12. The first shelter for the school was of logs in the center of section 17. In 1878 a new house was put up at a cost of $500.
District 14. The first house was got together by subscription; it was 16x18 feet and was put up in 1861. In 1878 a new house was erected, 18x26 feet. District 157 is joint with Houston county and has its schoolhouse in section 36.
District 183 (joint). This district, which has a schoolhouse in section 12, is joint with Houston county and takes in families in Norway and Rushford. It was created by the county commissioners, March 6, 1895. District 185 takes in families in Norway, Holt, Amherst and Preble. It was created by the county commissioners, March 24, 1896. The schoolhouse is in section 31, Norway. District 186 was created by the county commissioners January 3, 1899. The schoolhouse is in section 7, and the district is in the extreme northwestern part of the township.
Holt. At first the town was divided into four districts, each representing a quarter of the territory. In 1871 a new district was formed, and according to the county rule it became No. 167, which represented the whole number of schools in the county at that date. This new district was taken in part from No. 32 and partly from No. 33, and was located in the south part of the town.
District 32. The location of the school house is on section twenty-five. The district embraces the southeast corner of the town and was the first organized. In the winter of 1857 N. A. Graves carried the petition for the establishment of the district to Preston on snow shoes. The following spring a log house was put up by voluntary subscriptions of material and work. At the first school about forty pupils got together in the 18x20 building, the first to wield authority being Helen Chambers. About ten years afterwards a frame building was constructed.
District 34. The school thus designated embraces the northeast corner of the town. Late in the sixties this district was created, and Delia Adams undertook to teach in the house of Holver Kittleson. After a while a log house, 14x18 feet, was built, mostly by subscription. D. Adams was one of the first trustees.
District 167. As already stated this district was ushered into existence in 1871. The school house was of logs and was sided over. Anton Cleaver was the architect and builder. The first teacher was John Quinn.
District 33. The location of the schoolhouse is on section 29, and it accommodates the pupils in the southwest part of the town. The first building was a subscription one of logs. In 1877, a good frame building with a cupola, modern seats, and educational appliances was supplied, the dimensions of the building being 20x30 feet, with a front hall 10x10 feet. The cost was $800.
District 72. This is the Whalen Village School, and was commenced soon after the mill was put in operation, in a shanty just east of Dyer's store. Julia O'Brien was the earliest instructor. In 1870 a building was erected; a frame structure, 28x38 feet, with a cupola and bell, patent seats, globes, maps and other modern paraphernalia, to assist in mental development. The cost of the building was $1,200. The first teacher here was Miss P. Reppey. Whalen now has a semi-graded school with two departments.
Carrolton. District 49. This was first organized in 1858. The first officers were: J. H. Skarie, clerk; K. O. Orton, director; R. Knudtson, treasurer. A school had previously been taught in the house of K. K. Bell in 1857 by Lars Iverson in the Norwegian language. In 1858 James Oberton taught English in the house of K. C. Orton, and until the schoolhouse was built private houses were used. The schoolhouse cost about $450. Elling Gulings was the first teacher.
District 50. The first school here was probably-the one opened in the house of M. Mulholland, Ellen Mulholland being the instructor. Afterwards a school was kept in N. Walden's residence. In 1868 a house was built in the southeast corner of section four, at a cost of about $300. The first to teach in the new schoolhouse was Lizzie Whalen.
District 51. It is claimed with great plausibility in each case that the first school was kept at three different places by as many different persons. This district was probably organized about 1858, and a schoolhouse constructed at the quarter stake between sections 7 and 8, each man bringing logs; before it was finally completed, however, it was torn down and removed to section 8, where it was finished. In 1859 the first school was opened there with Miss Mulholland wielding the rod of authority. The school continued there until a house was completed in 1875, in section 18, at a cost of $450.
District 52. In 1860 a school was started in a house owned by. Sheldon Eddy in section 21; Eliza Underwood handled the ferule. About the same time the organization was effected. Schools were continued in private houses up to 1869, when a schoolhouse was put up that cost $30. In 1871 a building was constructed at a cost of $300. Sarah Woodward was the first teacher in the new schoolhouse.
District 53. School was taught in the house of H. Peterson in 1858, while this was a part of district No. 52. Wm. Sawyer was the teacher. The district was set off in 1861, and that winter a school was opened at the residence of Jacob Heintz. In 1862 a log house was built in section 27 on the land of O. C. Gulbrandson, who furnished the rough timber. All helped put it together, and when nearly ready for the roof Mr. Fiske was employed to finish it for about $100. In 1871 the house was moved to section 28. In 1880 a fourth of an acre of land was bought of J. C. Easton for $25, on the same section, about 450 yards north of the former site.
District 54. This was formed by a subdivision of No. 53, and organized in 1867. The next year a schoolhouse was built in section 26. The first school started in the new house and the district was under the supervision of Angie McMullen. Lanesboro Schools.-Lanesboro was organized as an independent graded school and the school building erected at a cost of about $1,200. Further mention is found elsewhere.
Fountain. District 74. This is the district embracing the village of Fountain and surrounding territory. The district was organized about 1857, and a school was taught that year in a private house. Later in the same year a log house was erected in section 15, south of town, which served as a schoolhouse until 1873, having been moved several times. In 1873, a neat house was erected at a cost of about $800 in the village. The first teacher was Carrie Wall. Fountain village now has a graded school with four departments.
District 75. An organization of this district was effected in 1856, and a schoolhouse put up the second year, on H. H. Winslow's land, in section 8, which served until 1868, when another house was erected. Jane Kinney was the first teacher in the old house, while Thomas Fitch inaugurated the newer one.
District 76. In 1861, this district was organized and a building bought of Jerry O'Brien for $100. This was on section 20, but was moved to section 16 in 1866. In 1880, the new schoolhouse was constructed. This building cost $300. Lucretia Bilger was the first teacher in this district.
District 77. In 1857, the district was formed, and a house built of logs furnished by the settlers, who arranged a "bee" and put them together. John Utley started the first school and at the end of the third week Henry Lockwood took charge and finished the term. This served the district up to 1872, when the house was burned, and then a new house was built on the old site in section 20, and the school started by Lizzie J. Sharpe.
District 78. This district was organized in 1857, and a log schoolhouse was put together by subscription without tax, in the summer of that year. The first school was taught immediately after the completion of the schoolhouse by Abraham Sheldon. The house now in use by the district is located in the northeastern corner of section 33.
District 79. This district was organized at an early day and a log schoolhouse erected by subscription. The first school was taught by Mrs. Gates in the log house.
District 80. This district was organized in 1860 and a log house put up that summer. In the winter, a school was taught by Mrs. J. S. Hanky. This building was 22x26 feet, erected by volunteer work and material, except windows and furniture. A new house was built in 1878, at a cost of about $700, on the old lot in section 7. Blanch Bartlich had the honor of being the first instructor in the new house.
Fillmore. It is claimed that the first school in the town was called to order by William Sackett. The school was held at Fillmore village in a little log hut in 1857, and had in attendance six or seven scholars. The teacher, Mr. Sackett, had just arrived from New York; he afterward married Catherine Splain, and moved to Lanesboro.
District 94. This district comprises what is known as the Fillmore village district. Its organization was effected in 1856, being without doubt the first organized district in the town, and the first place in which school was held. A log house was put together in 1856, by subscription, which lasted until 1873, when a new house was put up in the village at a cost of $900. The first school was taught by William Sackett, and was attended by seven or eight scholars.
District 63. This district was organized late in the fifties, being the district embracing the locality southeast of Wykoff. Shortly after organizing a cheap frame structure was erected, and in 1876 a building was put up at a cost of about $600, the size being 20x30 feet. The schoolhouse was located on the southwest quarter of section 23. The house is now located farther south.
District 95. The first teacher to call a school to order in this district was Mrs. Elias Mosher. Their present school building is a neat edifice on the northeast quarter of section 33. The district embraces part of the town of Wykoff.
District 96. This district received its organization in the year 1860, and the first school was called to order in that year by Joseph Blanchard in the private log dwelling of Thomas Masteller, on section 20, thirty-three scholars being enrolled. In 1861, a log house was built by subscription. This lasted until about 1869, when a house was built at a cost of about $1,000, on section 29.
District 153. This was organized about 1870, and shortly after a stone building was erected at a cost of $900. The first school was taught by Amantha Stevens. This district embraces that portion of the town lying northeast of Fillmore village, the schoolhouse being located on the southeast quarter of section 2.
District 172. This district was organized in 1875, Thomas Pulford being the first director and Silva Long the first teacher after the district was set off. In 1876, a schoolhouse was built, size 16x28, at a cost of $500. The first school was attended by twenty-seven scholars.
District 104. This takes in the territory of Wykoff. It was organized in 1875, from the other contiguous districts. Messrs. Crain, Kilborn, and Bartlett were the first officers. A schoolhouse was built that year, 26x48 feet, and cost $850. The first school kept while the schoolhouse was building was in the Baptist church, by James Goodsell. The present Wykoff village school is graded with four departments. District 187 is the youngest district in Fillmore county. The schoolhouse is in section 18, Fillmore township.
Spring Valley. District 113. At an early day this formed a part of the old Spring Valley district, but in 1871 or 1872, a school was started at the house of Charles Beverly, in section 35, and it was also kept in other houses. In 1873, a schoolhouse was provided, of brick.
District 114. School was first taught in this locality in a building put up for that purpose on section 23, in 1859. The first school was taught by Cornelia Hartshorn, from Boston, who soon married I. Freeman. The schools here had a large attendance till 1876, when a new house was erected at a cost of $1,100, near the old one. The school is called the "Pleasant Hill Schoolhouse."
District 115. This has the appellation of "Hard Scrabble" school, and the first session was taught here in a slab shanty erected for that purpose in 1858, and presided over by Mrs. Littlefield. After a few years it was kept in a building rented of Wilkins & Fifield, on the bank of the creek. Finally the schoolhouse was constructed on section 11.
District 116. The first school within the limits of this district was called to order in a little log cabin on section 17 in 1857, and the presiding genius was Mary O. Hill. There the school was in session for five or six terms, until the structure was consumed by fire, and then another log house went up on section 8, where the rising generation was gathered until 1871, when a new house was built.
District 117. Susan Sharp, who afterward became Mrs. J. Q. Farmer, taught school in a little claim shanty on section 30, in 1863. Soon after a log schoolhouse was put together on the farm of W. H. Conklin in section 32. In 1873, a structure was built on the eastern line of section 30.
District 148. The first school held here was in a frame building belonging to L. G. Odell, on section 4, in 1868, and Nancy Rosebrook was the first teacher. The district was soon organized, and the school was continued in the same place, and then in the blacksmith shop near there. Then a substantial log schoolhouse went up, replaced later by a modern building.
District 156. Soon after the war of the rebellion this district was set off, and a wing of a building belonging to S. Treat bought and moved to the northeast section of 21. Wesley P. Carrol was the first to wield the rod of authority in this district.
District 165. It was not until 1874 that this was created as a district, and a frame schoolhouse erected on the town line in section 32. The initial teacher was William Farnsworth. District 112 embraces the village of Spring Valley and is elsewhere treated in full. District 178 embraces land in Spring Valley and Fillmore. It was created from districts 124, 97, 115 and 172, by the county commissioners, July 14, 1890. The schoolhouse is in section 12.
Bloomfield. District 108. The first school taught in this district was in the summer of 1857, by Mrs. Hunt, in a log cabin, where it continued until the schoolhouse was built, in section 20. No school is now kept in this district.
District 107. A log schoolhouse was built in 1856, and a school opened by Daniel Scoville. The school officers were John Bateman, Mr. McCord and Dwight Rathbun. There were at first about a dozen juveniles to be taught. The schoolhouse is located upon the eastern line of section 2. A sabbath school was organized here in 1857, with Daniel Scoville as superintendent. District 109 was organized in the fall of 1858, and in 1859 a school was held in Mr. Baker's granery [sic] by John B. Freeborn. In 1860, everyone in the district turned out to assist in putting up a schoolhouse now in use, and all were credited 75 cents per day on their tax. The schoolhouse, 20x25 feet, was erected on the northwest corner of section 23. The first school in the new house was governed by Helen Lilly, who received $1.50 a month and board. About twelve juveniles gathered on the benches. Messrs. McNee and Craig were the most influential citizens of the town, or at least of that section, in locating the building, starting the school, and securing and paying the teacher.
District 110. This comprises the territory known as the Etna school district. It was organized in 1856, and a log schoolhouse erected on section 36. The teacher, Elder Ropes, gave his services for $6 a month and his board, which was obtained by visiting around from house to house, so many days at each. The log cabin filled the requirements until 1865, when a house was built on section 26, size 24x30 feet, at a cost of $700. It was afterwards removed to section 25, in the western part of Etna village. The first religious instruction was at Etna, the little hamlet in section twenty-five. Rev. Mr. Bly, of the Baptist faith, was the missionary.
District 132. The first in this part of the town was taught by Miss Graham in Mr. Allen's house. In 1864, a building was bought, moved and fixed up, which served until early in the seventies, when a new building was located in the northwestern corner of section 17.
District 111. This district was organized in 1859, and a plain slab shanty erected on section 33, by subscription. This rude hut lasted until 1876, when a neat building was erected on the same place, size 18x24 feet, at a cost of about $400. The first school was called to order in the slab shanty by Sarah Beach. District 180 was established by the county commissioners, May 2, 1893, out of portions of districts 107, 108 and 109. The schoolhouse is located in almost the exact center of the township.
District 181. The Ostrander school is a wooden structure of two rooms. Two teachers are employed, and there are about sixty scholars. The district was organized from parts of districts 108 and 111 by the county commissioners, May 2, 1893.
Forestville. The township of Forestville is divided into seven school districts. They are all in good financial standing and under good management. The schoolhouses in the township, as an average, surpass those of any of the surrounding towns. The first district organized in the town was what is now known as district No. 90. The first schoolhouse in an organized county district was erected here.
District 90. This district embraces the village of Forestville and surrounding territory. The district was organized as district 3 in 1854 and as district 1 on January 2, 1855. In it was undoubtedly constructed the first school erected in an organized district in this county. The story is told elsewhere. In 1856 a brick house was built, which lasted until another house was erected in 1878. A schoolhouse north of the village was erected at a cost of $1,800, size 24x36 feet, two stories, and a stone basement.
District 91. This district embraces the territory in the extreme northwestern part of the town, and extends into the adjoining towns. The schoolhouse is located in the western part of section 6.
District 92. This district was organized about 1860, and a log house built by subscription, which answered all school purposes until 1870, when a schoolhouse was erected at a cost of about $900, a short distance south of where the original house stood. This house was a neat brick building on the northwest quarter of section 18.
District 93. In a log house owned by Mr. Graling, the first school was called to order by Annie Sanderson, and shortly afterward the district was organized. The house now occupied by the district is in the southwest corner of section 29.
District 170. This received its organization later than the other districts in the township, in 1874, and a neat brick schoolhouse was erected at a cost of $1,000, in the northern part of section 8.
District 155. Miss Crain taught the first school here in 1856 or 1857, in a house in section 13. The next year the school was also taught by the same lady in another dwelling. A house was erected about 1870, and coat between $900 and $1,000, being a substantial brick structure, in the eastern part of section 15.
District 142. This district was organized at an early day. The district embraces territory in the southeastern part of the town, the stone schoolhouse having been built on the southwestern quarter of section 27.
Carimona. District 68. In 1857 a stone schoolhouse in the village was put up, l6x20 feet, which served up to 1868, when a building now standing was erected of brick with a stone foundation, a tower 10x12 feet, of brick, with a bell, the cost being about $1,200. A school had been taught as early as 1855, in a building belonging to Brackett & Pickett, by Rev. T. P. Ropes with fifteen children. It was afterwards taught by Miss M. J. Shaft in the Converse building. District 70 was organized in 1861, with the following officers: Director, Cornelius Carl; clerk, P. Flynn; treasurer, James Kaygen. The location of the school building is on section 32. The first school was taught the first year of its organization in the residence of M. Flynn, by Lucy Okey. The schoolhouse was put up in 1862, and was of logs, 14x16 feet, and cost $300. Another house was constructed in 1873, 18x20 feet, at a cost of $600. The first school taught here was by William Allen with forty pupils.
District 71. In 1862, this district was set apart and organized. The first director was J. Savage; clerk, S. Stevens; treasurer, 'William Davis. A school was taught in this district in 1860 by Jerusha Thacher, in Scott Steven's house, with eleven scholars. In 1863 a log building was put up, 18x20 feet, in section 27. The next year Alice Lancaster kept the school with fifteen pupils.
District 73. This is the Waukokee school. In 1854 a log schoolhouse was built, 16x20 feet. It had twenty scholars. The next year a house was constructed, 20x30 feet, and furnished with a bell weighing seventy-five pounds. The schoolhouse is located in section 25.
District 17. This was not organized till 1877. The schoolhouse was built on section 17, is 16x24 feet, and cost $300 or more. The first director was J. Healy; treasurer, C. Smith; clerk, T. Delaney. The first school was taught by P. Healy in the residence of J. Healy, with fifteen pupils.
District 67. An early school was here taught by Ellen S. Morgan with twelve children, in Whitmore Ford's house in section 10. The next year, 1858, the district was organized. In 1861 a house was built on section 11, 16x22, the land being donated by W. Ford. The house cost $300. The school is now in section 10.
Preston. District 47. This district has been known as the Duxbury school, the Mills school, the Hutton school and the Partridge school, and has facetiously been called Yale college. The school was started about 1858 or 1859, and the land was given by John Duxbury. The schoolhouse was built of logs, and stood a few feet east of the present schoolhouse. Otis Priest took charge of the building operations. The first school in the district was taught by _____ Crouch, a shoemaker. He was followed by _____ Chandler, and Chandler was followed by Kennedy. A new schoolhouse was built in 1874, and the first teacher in this building was Helen Nash, of Lanesboro. It was under the tuition of Jesse C. Johnson, that this school became the leading school in the county, and gained its name of "Yale college."
District 48. January 27, 1858, a meeting was held to organize the district at the house of Mr. Livingood. A. J. Tillotson was the clerk, and the schoolhouse was built the same year on the land of Mr. Livingood which was leased for ninety-nine years. Each family was required to make a bench for the schoolhouse. Emily Miller presided at the teacher's desk for the first time in the new schoolhouse. The lease of the land was afterwards lost, and Mr. Livingood took possession of the building and put a family in it. For a year or two there was no school in the district. In 1874 a piece of land was procured of Chris. Hahn, in section 4, and a new schoolhouse went up, the first school being taught by Cara Slater.
District 46. Schools were started by the settlers even before their district had been organized. Each one in a neighborhood would haul some logs and help to build the schoolhouse, and gave a few dollars to the teacher, also looking after her board. The school in district 46 was built at the encouragement of Mrs. Henderson, who offered a gallon of whiskey to the first man who should draw a load of logs and deposit it in the place she indicated. The first teacher in this log school was Katharine Bursell, later Mrs. James Rice. She was paid eight dollars a month, and lived with her relatives, the Hendersons. Mrs. Rice taught as soon as the log building was finished. She has often asserted that this was in the summer of 1860, for while a teacher she visited the bride, Ellen Young Hutton, who was married to William Hutton, December 31, 1859. Edwin Stork insists that he visited the school in the summer of 1859, and that Sarah Kimber, whom he afterwards married, spelled the school down. He is sure of this because it was the summer before he came of age, which was in November, 1859. The log structure was used until 1869 when a frame edifice was erected at a cost of $830.
District 169. This was formerly a part of No. 48, but was set off and organized in 1871. A half acre of land was bought of Andreas Tollefson, on section 15, for $12.50, and that same fall a house was built at a cost of $560. Le. B. Felt was the first teacher; John Livingood was clerk, Michael Anstett, director, and Ole Larson, treasurer.
District 137. This was organized in the last half of the sixties, and was taken from No. 47, from the Preston district, and a part in Carimona was added in 1878. When the district was first organized a log house was put up which lasted till 1878, when a building was provided on section 18, at a cost of $1,200. In the new house, Hattie Sutton had the honor of calling the first school to order. In the early history of the district Ettie Prescott was the first teacher, in E. Long's house.
District 129. In 1861 this district was organized, and the same year a schoolhouse was laid up of stone, at a cost of about $500. The house is on section 31. Mary Manning was the first teacher in this district.
District 136. This was formerly a part of Nos. 48 and 169. It was set off and organized about 1863, when a small log house was procured from section 11 and moved to section 12. Duncan Murray was the first teacher. In 1875 a house was built at a cost of $700, and J. W. Bennett was the first teacher. District 45 takes in the village schools of Preston.
Preble. The first school building erected in town was completed in 1858 for district No. D. The size of the structure was 16x18 feet. The walls were of oak logs with handmade oak shingles for the roof. The settlers were the architects and builders. It served the double purpose of secular and religious teaching until the church was put up in 1864.
District 9. In 1859, a log house was built, 14x16 feet, near the house of Nels Johnson. The school was opened by Mrs. Cameron, of Hesper, Iowa. In 1878, a new schoolhouse was put on a site farther north than the old one, and on section 21. District 7 was organized in 1863, and the following year a log house was built. Anna Hall was the first teacher. On the subdivision of the district in 1871, the house was moved to a more central point in the northwest corner of section 10.
District 162. This was taken from No. 7 in 1871. In 1877, a new frame building was constructed near the western boundary of section 12.
District 69. This is a joint district with Houston county. The union was effected in 1871, through the exertions of Patrick Flannagan and John Kelley, and a schoolhouse was erected, 14x18 feet. The first term of school was presided over by Mary Kelly in the winter of 1872. District 10 was first organized and a schoolhouse built in 1862. The first teacher was William Van Doren. In 1873 a new schoolhouse was erected near the southeast corner of section 26.
District 163. This was organized in 1870, and the following year a small log house was put up. The earliest school was taught by Minnie Clark.
Newburg. District 2. In 1862, this district was organized; but two terms of school had been held prior to the time the schoolhouse was erected. The first schoolhouse was completed in 1865. A part of this district at one time was set off and connected with a district in Houston county.
District 3. An organization was effected in 1856. The first officers were: trustees, Osten Peterson, Mathew Mathison, and Hans Arneson; clerk, Hans Valder. A schoolhouse of small dimensions was built the same year. The first instructor was Emily Seelye.
District 5. This district is said to have been organized in 1855. E. F. West taught the first school. It was subdivided in 1872, and district No. 168 was set off, and in 1873 another schoolhouse was built. There was quite an opposition to building the new house, but the friends of the measure rallied at a school meeting one stormy night and carried their point.
District 6. This was organized in 1857, and a school building erected the same year, 20x30 feet. James McDonald has the honor of having taught the first school, in the winter of 1857. This district now comprises the village school of Mabel.
District 66. A building for school purposes was put up in 1863, soon after the organization of the district, and the earliest school was called to order by Frances Plomteaux the following winter.
District 135. In 1860, this district was organized, and the following year a schoolhouse was built at a cost of $475, 18x22 feet. Samuel Aiken taught the first school.
District 150. This formed a part of the sixth district, and was organized near the close of the sixties. The following year a schoolhouse was erected, 18x28 feet, at a cost of $800. The first school teacher was Dura Gilmore.
District 168. A schoolhouse was erected in 1873, and the first school taught by Mrs. Robert Benedict. District 64 was taken from Nos. 5 and 6, and in the seventies was organized and a schoolhouse, 18x24 feet, erected on section 17. It has been known as the "White Schoolhouse" and was a prominent landmark. No school is now held in this district. District 1 is at Riceford in Houston county, being a joint district with this county. District 4 has a schoolhouse in section 7.
Canton. District 19. This is the old Leonra school, the first school taught in the county, in the building erected for school purposes. Its history is found in full elsewhere.
District 20. This was set off from a district north of it extending into Amherst. The schoolhouse was built in 1867, and is on the southeast corner of section 8 and cost about $600. The first school was taught by Della Stewart.
District 21. In 1858, Elder W. Morse, a Baptist clergyman, began teaching school from one house to another. In 1860, a house was built on the farm of Josiah Fay in section 18.
District 22. In 1855, a school was opened in a house built the year before by A. Eastman, in section 14, on the northwest part, but the next year was removed to the southeast of the same section. The building is now used by William Willford as a stable. The first school was taught by Clarisa Eddy. A schoolhouse was built in 1865, on section 14.
District 23. On the east of section 25 the first school was kept in claim shanty belonging to John Graham on what is now the farm of Engebert Ellingson. This was in the fall of 1856. In the winter of 1857-58, a log house was constructed for school purposes on section 36. A brick schoolhouse was built in 1872, at a cost of $800, besides volunteer labor. The first teacher in the district was Sarah West Benedict. The old brick schoolhouse is now replaced by a modern building.
District 24. In 1866 the first school was called to order in the present schoolhouse by Alice Baker Sprague. At the first school there were twenty-six names on the register. The location is on the southeast corner of section 28.
Elliota School, District 25. The initial school was in the winter of 1855-56, in an addition to the house of C. B. Kimball, and was presided over by Sarah Allen, of Bellevue. This was east of the village, and during the following summer it was kept at the house of Andrew Cheney. In 1856, the old stone schoolhouse was constructed. This served the purpose up to 1869, when it was burned, and after quite a bitter contest a new one was put up at a cost of about $500, on the northeast corner of section 31.
District 26. In a frame house of Wesley Willford's on section 21, in 1862, the first school was opened by Hannah Bursell and taught here for a single term, when a temporary frame structure was put up near the east line of the same section, and there one term was also taught. Then a schoolhouse was built on section 16, at a cost of about $300.
Canton Village Schools. When first recorded as a village the territory embraced the corners of four school districts, but in the fall of 1881 a new district, No. 174, was formed by taking forty acres from each of them, and thus making a new one from the 160 acres thus obtained. Arrangements were made to build a schoolhouse two stories high, with a belfry and other adornments, at a cost of about $2,000. The first school was taught by May L. Mason in the house of George Hudson, in March, 1881.
Harmony has seven school districts as follows: District 37 on section 3; district 38 on section 9; district 39 on section 20; district 40, the village schools of Harmony; district 42, a former district in which school is no longer held; district 41 on section 26; district 44 on section 29, and district 140 on section 1. In section 8 there is a small church school.
Bristol. The first school in town was taught in M. C. St. John's house in the winter of 1854. Mr. St. John employed Adeline Stork to teach. She had seven pupils and the term was thirteen weeks. The family moved into the kitchen to make room for the educational institution.
District 59. The first schoolhouse was built in the fall of 1856, of logs furnished by the settlers, who brought the material and put up the building on section 35. W. E. Adams went to Lansing, sixty miles, for the boards, windows and shingles. The first school was kept that winter by S. R. Lewis. In the fall of 1867 it was moved to section 36.
District 60. In 1862 this was organized and the same year the schoolhouse was built. The contract was made with T. Chase to complete it for $300, but he lost money on the job, and the district allowed him $25 additional. It was located on section 22. Affie Linderman was the first teacher. The officers were J. C. Brown, Edwin Teel and John Linderman. In the fall of 1881 the schoolhouse was burned, but was rebuilt.
District 61. This organization was effected about 1860, and the first school was taught in a granary belonging to George Drury; it was afterwards kept in M. O'Connor's granary in the summer and in the house in the winter. Maria Flynn was the first teacher. The schoolhouse was built in 1872. The first instructor in the schoolhouse was Oscar Ayres. The first director was M. O'Connor.
District 62. This was organized in 1860. The first school was in a shanty put up for the purpose near Joseph Ogg's granary. It was afterwards kept in N. Ogg's granary, and afterwards in John Shook's. Then a cabin was bought at Buffalo Grove for $15, and moved to section 5, where the school was kept until 1869, when a house was built. It is known as the Prairie Queen schoolhouse.
District 65. This was first organized in 1857 or 1858. John Carnegie, John Rice and John Stahl were the first officers. The same year the men in the district turned out and put up a log house, getting out the shingles by hand. The lumber was sawed at the steam sawmill at Waukokee. Its location was on the land of John Rice, on section 13. Ruth Anderson was the teacher. School was continued here until a new house was built on section 24.
District 130. Mary Buskirk kept school in D. Crowell's house in 1858, and only the Crowell children attended. In 1869 the district was organized, and the first school kept in Norman Brace's house, Mrs. Brace being the teacher. This was in section 32; afterwards it was in a log house in section 31. A new schoolhouse was built in 1872, on section 31, at a cost of $650. Georgie L. Tibbales was the first teacher. James Arnot, N. Brace and John Sims were the officers.
District 131. This was organized in 1861, and the first school taught in the house of Joshua Horton, Alice Andrews being the instructor. The officers were Ole Skrabeck, Henry Tarbest and Joshua Horton. The school boarded around in different houses until the year 1866, when a schoolhouse was constructed on section 11. This district has one of the best single room buildings in the county. It was erected at a cost of about $1,600 and follows the modern "side light" plan, the main room having windows on the north only.
District 149. This was formerly a part of No. 59 and was set off in 1861, and the first school kept in a house belonging to Burgess & Greenleaf. George Bates was the first teacher. After that the school was kept in the Red Tavern. In 1870 a schoolhouse was constructed in section 33, costing about $700. In 1874 that was demolished and a new one put up in Granger, a two story building costing about $1,200. Sarah D. Teel taught the first school here.
District 151. School was first taught in this district at the house of G. G. Roberts in section 18, and afterwards in a log house in section 19. The same year, 1868, the district was organized. In 1870 a schoolhouse was built on section 19 at a cost of $500. Richard D. Jones was the first teacher in the new schoolhouse. This is the Bristol Grove schoolhouse.
York. District 86. In 1861 this district was organized, and during that summer a school was kept by Lucy Canfield in her house on section 21. In 1862 the schoolhouse was got up, 18x24 feet, on section 29. It was afterwards enlarged by the addition of twelve feet to the length. As originally formed the district had eleven and one-half sections. In November, 1881, it was subdivided by a special act of the legislature leaving the east half of the district with the schoolhouse and a new number. The new district thus formed from the western portion held a meeting at the house of Oren Louden on April 29, 1882, and elected officers as follows; Director, L. Conklin; treasurer, Moses Gue; clerk, O. Louden. A tax of $450 was voted to build a schoolhouse on the northeast quarter of section 30.
District 87. This was organized about 1860 at the house of E. Armstrong. A house was built of hewn logs supplied by members of the district who turned out to lay them up. The school was started that same summer, and it is believed that Mary Burgess was the teacher. The building was located on the northeast quarter of section 34. In May, 1880, a frame building was put up about seventy rods north of where the old one stood. In the new house Arne Grundyson was the first teacher.
District 88. An organization was effected in 1860, and the farmers supplied the logs and then helped put up the structure on section 24. Mary Black was the first teacher.
District 89. The first schoolhouse here was erected in 1857, on section 10, by the usual method of contribution in material and work, and that winter a school was opened and Mary Black was the first to handle the ferule. In 1870 the old building furnished food for the flames. Then the school was kept in A. S. Adam's granary and in a house where Mr. Adams formerly lived. In 1872 a building was erected. In the new house George J. Sanderson was the first instructor.
District 134. The first school taught in this district was in John Boland's house in section one, in 1860, by Nettie Terbest, a subscription school for small scholars. In 1865, it was organized and a house put upon section eleven. Maria Flynn was the first teacher in the school-house. A new building was erected in 1876, at a cost of $1,300, and a school was opened by Harris Merrill. District 182 has a schoolhouse in section 18. The district takes in parts of sections 7, 8, 19 and 20 and all of 17 and 18. It was organized by the county commissioners, March 6, 1895. District 175 was organized in the eighties. The schoolhouse is in section 28. District 184 has a schoolhouse in section 5, and takes in families from Forestville and York. The district was organized by the commissioners, March 6, 1895.
Beaver. The first district in the town was organized in 1857, in the southwestern part, and the first school was taught by Mrs. H. E. Edmunds in her house. After several years, as no schoolhouse had been built, the district was merged into No. 103.
District 31. In 1880, this district was organized, and the first school called to order by Alice Edmunds, in Thomas Bogan's granary. In the fall of 1881, the schoolhouse was built on section thirty, and that winter Myron Rumsey taught the first school.
District 106. This was first organized in 1859, and was partly in the State of Iowa. The first school was in a log cabin in that State in the summer of 1859, and Christine Thompson was the teacher. In 1860, a shanty was built for a schoolhouse, near the state line on the Minnesota side, and the first teacher was Lucinda Tibbles. After using that a while they built a schoolhouse on the same spot, the southeast quarter of section thirty-five, and that answered the purpose up to 1872, when a good schoolhouse was constructed on section twenty-seven which cost $500. Claudia Davis has the honor of being the first here to demand attention of the congregated pupils.
District 141. This was organized in 1863, and a shanty promptly put up for school purposes on section thirty-one, and here for two years mental training was going on. Then a building on section fifteen was built. Rhoda Cray was the first instructor. This had been a part of No. 105.
District 103. The voters of this district gathered in the fall of 1863, and arranged the new district in the house of Henry Hook. A school was kept in Patrick Leddy's milkhouse, Emma Peters presiding that winter; and Kate Graham the next summer, in James Smith's granary. The next winter an extemporized building was put together at a cost of $115. Emma Peters managed the first school here.
District 102. In 1859, the outline of this district was defined, and a schoolhouse made of logs was put up on section five. This served the purpose until near the middle of the seventies, when another was built on the same section. This schoolhouse was used as a meeting place for the Lutherans and also for the Methodists.
District 105. The first school in this vicinity was in 1858, and the district was regularly organized about that time. A building was borrowed of Norman Gates and moved from the northwest to the northeast quarter of section sixteen, and here mental discipline for the rising generation went on until 1861, when a schoolhouse was built on the same spot. In 1863, there was a subdivision of the district and the schoolhouse was moved to section nine. The school was kept there until 1876, when the building was replaced by a new one.
District 143. At the house of H. O. Bryant in 1866, a meeting was held, and an organization secured by the election of O. B. Bryant, J. C. Preston, and B. F. Holman as officers. It included one-half of section six in the town of York. The first school was opened in a house belonging to O. A. Boynton, with Augusta Douglass in charge of the exercises. In 1868, a schoolhouse was built up on section one, but in January, 1872, it was moved to section two. Mary Ann Griffin was an early teacher in the district, perhaps the first. District 177 was organized in the eighties. The schoolhouse is in section 15.
Amherst township is divided into several school districts, and all are in flourishing condition. The first school to be attended by Amherst pupils was in Canton township, the district comprising part of both towns and was known as district No. 11. The log schoolhouse was built by subscription in the spring of 1857, standing just over the line in Canton township. The first teacher was Helie Ann Churchill. The second was Augusta M. Osgood, who married M. H. Onstine. It was afterwards changed to No. 138. District 138 was formerly 11, and the schoolhouse was in Canton, but bordered on both townships. A frame schoolhouse was built in 1870 at a cost of $800.
District 27. This district was organized in March, 1857, and a little log cabin put up for school purposes at a cost of $50, size 14x16 feet, and stood where the present schoolhouse stands, the first school being taught by Mr. Kennedy, of Preston. In 1870 a house was erected at a cost of $650, size 20x30 feet, and was supplied with apparatus worth $66. It stood in the northwest corner of section eleven. District 28 was organized late in the fifties, and a log house put up by contribution of labor. Some years later this was torn down and a neat and substantial schoolhouse erected on section four, in the southwestern part. District 30 was organized in 1857, and in 1858 a frame building was erected, but afterward sold and used for a blacksmith shop. In 1867 a building was put up in section twenty-seven, in the northern part, at a cost of $350. This was at one time the largest district in town.
District 43. This district was formerly blended into other surrounding districts, but in 1868 a petition was made to the county commissioners for a separate district, which was granted, and the district was at once organized. They soon after erected a neat frame structure on the east line of section sixteen, at a cost of about $300, size 18x26 feet. The first teacher was Emerilla Sutherland.
District 133. Previous to the organization of this district, three terms of school had been taught in the house of Norman Botton, by Hattie Dauchey. In 1863 the organization of the district was effected under the caption of No. 133, and one year later their schoolhouse was erected in the center of section thirty-five. Mrs. Blackburn first called the school to order. District 29 was one of the first districts organized in the town, being organized in 1857, and a log house, 18x20 feet, erected for school purposes. This served as a schoolhouse until in 1876, when a substantial building was erected in the northern part of section nineteen, at a cost of $1,000, size 24x36 feet. District 8. This district was organized in 1857, and a house put up of hewn logs. In 1869 a neat structure of stone, 24x30 feet, was built a short distance north of where the old one stood, in the northeast corner of section thirteen.
City And Village Schools.
It has been the desire of the editors of this publication to present a complete history of the high schools and graded schools of the county. In some cases the information has been withheld by the superintendents, principals or school clerks, and consequently several schools are omitted, with regret, from the following list.
Spring Valley Schools. The educational system of Spring Valley had its beginning in the summer of 1855, when Juliann Kingsley taught a select school in a building situated east of the present village, on a tract of land which Thomas C. Watson had platted as the village of Spring Valley, the exact location of this dwelling being the northeast corner of the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 27.
In the winter of 1855-56 timber was gotten out to build a frame building. School was taught here three months in the summer of 1856, by W. L. Kellogg, this being the first public school in this vicinity, and Mr. Kellogg being the first in this vicinity to draw public money from the county treasurer as a teacher.
There is considerable conflicting testimony as to the first school on the present village site. A former history has stated that Stephen Ives taught a school in 1855 at the southwest corner of Jefferson street and Broadway. A pamphlet published in 1858 speaks of a frame schoolhouse "on the hill" as already erected. However, W. L. Kellogg, the first public school teacher in Spring Valley is authority for the following statement. "The first school taught on what is now the platted portion of Spring Valley was in the summer of 1857, when Stephen Ives kept school in a slab shanty on the south side of Jefferson street, about midway between Section street and Broadway. In 1858 and 1859 school was taught in a building on the southwest corner of Jefferson street and Broadway. A frame building was erected in 1860, on the present site of the Molstad high school building. This building may still be seen just south of the new Putnam school building, on the next street."
The first school meeting of district 32 was held September 6, 1857. The officers were: Chairman, C. Wilkins; clerk, J. M. Strong; trustees, T. A. Warner, Washington Lloyd and Peter S. De Groodt. The district continued as number 32 up to April 18, 1861. The legislature having passed a new school law, the district was reorganized as number 1, and on April 27, 1861, the following officers were elected: T. M. Chapman, clerk; Simon Stevens, Cordella Wilkins and Daniel L'coville, trustees. May 6, 1862, district No. 1 was divided and district 112 was organized, and the following officers elected: Simon Stevens, directors; Simon Philips, clerk; T. M. Chapman, treasurer.
On April 29, 1871, district 112 was set aside and organized as an independent district. At this meeting it was decided to have a three and one half months' summer term, and the same length winter term. One hundred dollars was voted for teacher's wages and firewood.
The first teacher employed by district 112 in 1862 was Miss E. J. Crosby, at a salary of $3.50 a week. The second teacher in 1863 was J. C. Stevens, at a salary of $25.00 per month.
On November 14, 1868, it was resolved to build a brick schoolhouse on the site of the frame one, and accordingly a fine building was constructed on the brow of the hill overlooking the village, at a cost of about $10,000.00.
M. F. Varney laid out the ground work for the grade system, but it devolved upon A. D. Gaines, his successor, to establish that system in the schools.
A. D. Gaines was a young man, just graduated from an eastern college. He did not stay long enough to graduate a class. In 1884 the building was remodelled [sic], and in the fall of that year, E. Campbell took charge of the schools. The school building was burned February 14, 1885, less than six months from the time that the extensive improvements had been completed. During the summer of 1885 a new building was erected, and this with additions, still stands as the Morstad high school. In the spring of 1886, the school graduated its first class, consisting of three members: Charles D. Gould, Ernest E. Bentley and Nellie C. Austin. Mr. Campbell remained eight years and raised the school from third grade to a place among the best.
Following is a list of the superintendents: A. D. Gaines, 1881, 3 years; E. E. Campbell, 1884, 8 years; Wm. Moore, 1892, 2 years; E. J. Donaldson, 1894, 1 year; E. E. Campbell, 1895, 2 years; W. W. Kilgore, 1897, 3 years; F. E. Lurton, 1900, 3 years; L. Bauer, 1903, 3 years; C. V. Pierce, 1906, 1 year; E. E. Chadwick, 1907, 3 years; F. E. Maxon, 1910. Until about 1894 the superintendent was both superintendent and principal. Since that date the superintendent has been relieved of the duties of principal.
As the years passed and the population grew, it was found necessary to erect a ward school for a part of the younger children, and accordingly a schoolhouse was completed on lot 3, block 3, in Billings' and Cummings' addition.
The village now has an ideal educational system in every way. The children who desire academic training are carried through the grades and through the usual four years' high school course, thus preparing them for college. Those who so desire are given normal training in addition to the usual work.
In keeping with the progress of modern times a new school was dedicated December 1, 1911, which is known at the Putnam school, and is the finest school building in this part of the state. In it general science, manual training, domestic science and agriculture are taught along the latest improved lines, and ample provision is made for physical culture and recreation.
Fourteen outlying school districts have voted to join the association system, bringing under the two mill tax system, an assessed valuation of about $1,125,000. In addition to the three buildings with a seating capcity [sic] of 700, surrounded by ample grounds, the district owns seventeen acres of land about one half mile from the Putnam building, which is to be used for agricultural purposes, in connection with the school courses.
The class of 1911 brought the total number of graduates up to 342, most of whom are actively at work solving the problems of life in the efficient manner taught in the Spring Valley courses of study.
In 1862 only one teacher was employed. In 1912 twenty-one teachers are employed. In 1862 there were twenty-two pupils enrolled. In 1912 there are 530. In 1886 there were three graduates. The class of 1912 contains forty-two members. The total money required to conduct the school for one month in 1862 would not conduct the schools one half a day at the present time.
Spring Valley has just cause to be proud of its alumni, its carefully selected corps of seventeen teachers, its efficient board of education, and the increased popularity in which its schools are widely held.
The Preston Schools. The first school in Preston village was kept in the spring of 1856 in a log schoolhouse known as the "Davis schoolhouse," located on Main street near the river bank, near the west end of the street, and on the south side. From there the school was moved to the brick house still standing on lot 4, block 6, Barbara Kaercher's addition, afterward used as the Methodist church, and now used as a residence. This historic building in which so many Preston people were educated is one of the land marks of the village.
The commencement of the project for the graded schools of Preston was in the spring of 1865. The citizens, after discussing the matter, came to the conclusion that the plan was practical, and determined to carry it through. March 20, 1865, notice was given to all concerned that a meeting would be held to determine the public sentiment in the matter. The polls were opened April 1, 1865, and the count showed that there were seventeen in favor of, and two opposed to the enterprise. A board of directors was appointed and the necessary steps taken to have district No. 45 reorganized as an independent school district.
The schools grew rapidly, and it was soon found necessary to use the basement of the courthouse. In 1866 it was determined to build a new school, and after the usual preliminaries as to the issuing of bonds and the purchase of property, a brick schoolhouse was erected on the present school property. This building, with changes, is still standing. Two sets of bonds were issued, and the total cost was about $10,000.00, the building being completed and ready for use in the fall of 1868. The edifice, which at that time was regarded as a model school building, was two stories high, contained three rooms and an entry hall, and was well equipped for its intended purpose. Thus matters continued with the primary and intermediate departments on the lower floor and the higher department on the upper floor, the common branches being taught. March 30, 1881, the board passed a resolution that a high school be established, and that state aid be sought under the state laws of 1878.
September 4, 1883, at the annual meeting, Attorney A. D. Gray moved that a meeting be called for the purpose of considering the procuring of more suitable quarters for the rapidly growing school. The motion, however, did not bear fruit until January 6, 1885, when, at a special meeting, it was decided to issue bonds for the purpose of building an addition on the south side of the building then standing. The contract was let to Alex. Galbraith and John Wintey for $2,895.00 and the work completed ready for the opening of schools in the fall of 1885. September 1, 1887, appears the first mention of the school library, Professor W. J. Alexander being appointed the librarian.
April 11, 1890, it was voted to issue bonds for another addition to the building, the contract being awarded to Fred Neuman and John Wintey for $3,900. June 29, 1895, a contract was let to Morgan & Neuman to finish the upper floor of the new north wing, the contract price being $645.00. September 30 of the same year it was voted to borrow $1,500 for improvements.
December 18, 1897, the Preston high school became a member of the State Association of High School Boards. October 1, 1898, the treasurer reported that $1,366.73 had been lost by the failure of the Fillmore County Bank, and the next few years were occupied with litigation over this matter. The treasurer and his bondsmen were sued and judgment was had in the District court in favor of the school district for the full amount. An appeal was taken to the Supreme court and the judgment affirmed.
By 1900 the school had again become crowded, and an overflow school was held in the Masonic hall.
March 16, 1901, a contract was awarded for the building of a new high school, and later a contract was let for the installing of a new heating and ventilating system in both the old and the new buildings. The new building was completed and ready for occupancy October 29, 1901. April 25, 1903, it was decided to make application to the state for the establishment of a Normal department. August 19, 1905, an inventory of school property showed that the district was in debt $11,500, that its new building was worth $13,500, its old building $20,000 and its furnishings and supplies $4,441. May 29, 1909, the Board of Education took action requesting the village council to take steps toward securing a Carnegie Library. October 11, 1909, the School Board joined the State Society of School Boards. April 4, 1911, it was voted to establish a normal department, with Alice M. Ide as teacher, the district to receive $750.00 annually from the state. April 20, 1911, application was made to the State High School Board to maintain at Preston an agricultural department in connection with the high school.
The graduates of the Preston High School during the first live years that classes were graduated were as follows:
1890 - Nellie Foote, Albert Baker and Alfred Thompson.
1891 - Louise Baker, Stella Gray, Lucy Gray and Jennie Taylor.
1892 - Emma Schwartz, Celius Thompson, Nettie Gray, Agnes Cathcart and Josephine Finckh.
1893 - Laura Renner, Grace Farrington, Nellie Wheeler, Minnie Hamre and Henrietta Rose.
1894 - Albert Hart, Reuben Engle and Robert Kemple.
The present officers of the Preston School Board are: President, A. D. Gray; clerk, E. A. Highum; treasurer, C. M. Anderson; superintendent, L. N. Towle; trustees, Charles Snyder, Carl Kuethe and B. O. Kyseth.
Following are the principal officers since the beginning:
Trustees and directors - Thomas Quinn, April 14, 1865, to March 31, 1866, September 3, 1881, to September 6, 1884; Samuel Shuck, April 14, 1865, to September 1, 1881; S. B. Murrel, April 14, 1865, to March 30, 1867, March 26, 1870, to October 4, 1873; D. B. Coleman, April 14, 1865, to March 30, 1867, October 7, 1871, to October 9, 1871 (resigned); N. P. Colburn, April 14, 1865, to March 31, 1866, October 3, 1874, to September 7, 1878 ; W. T. Wilkins, April 14, 1865, to January 27, 1868 (resigned); Alexander Galbraith, March 31, 1866, to March 27, 1869; B. S. Loomis, March 30, 1867, to March 26, 1870; W. A. Hotchkiss, March 30, 1867, to March 26, 1870; V. M. Baker, January 27, 1868, to October 7, 1871; E. McMurtrie, November 27, 1869, to October 7, 1871; W. W. Fife, November 26, 1870, to July 16, 1897 ; A. Howell, October 7, 1871, to May 10, 1878; C. H. Conkey, October 9, 1871, to July 16, 1898; J. O'Brien, October 4, 1873, to July 21, 1888; H. A. Billings, October 3, 1874, to November 28, 1877; W. W. Braden, September 7, 1878, to September 9, 1882; Lars O. Hamre, September 9, 1882, to July 17, 1886; A. Weiser, September 4, 1883, to September 6, 1884, re-elected July 16, 1892, refused to serve; A. D. Gray, September 6, 1884, to the present time; Henry S. Bassett, September 6, 1884, to July 15, 1893; H. C. Gullickson, July 17, 1886, to July 20, 1889, re-elected on the last named date but refused to serve; George W. Hard, July 21, 1888, to July 18, 1891; O. H. Jacobson, July 20, 1889, to December 30, 1892; L J. Parker, July 18, 1891, to July 16, 1897; Walter Engle, July 15, 1893, to July 18, 1896; J. H. Phillips, July 15, 1893, to July 16, 1910; G. W. Robinson, July 18, 1896, to July 15, 1899; Carl Kuethe, July 16, 1897, to the present time; Samuel A. Langum, July 16, 1897, to July 17, 1909; M. R. Todd, July 16, 1898, to September 23, 1898 (resigned); H. R. Wells, September 23, 1898, to July 16, 1910; A. W. Thompson, July 15, 1899, to July 19, 1902; F. C. Bailey, July 19, 1902, to July 9, 1906; C. M. Anderson, July 21, 1906, to the present time; Charles Snyder, July 17, 1909, to the present time; E. A. Highum, July 16, 1910, to the present time; B. O. Kyseth, July 16, 1910, to the present time.
Presidents - D. B. Coleman, March 31, 1866, to March 30, 1867; N. P. Colburn, April 25, 1867, to October 3, 1874, September 21, 1878, to September 4, 1883; H. A. Billings, October 9, 1874, to September 7, 1878; J. O'Brien, September 4, 1883, to July 21, 1888; A. D. Gray, August 4, 1888, to August 10, 1895, August 7, 1897, to the present time; C. H. Conkey, August 10, 1895, to August 7, 1897.
Clerks - W. T. Wilkins, March 31, 1866, to January 27, 1868; S. Loomis, January 27, 1868, to March 31, 1869; E. McMurtrie, March 31, 1869, to October 7, 1871; C. H. Conkey, October 9, 1871, to August 3, 1889, clerk pro tern., December 30, 1892, to July 15, 1893; O. H. Jacobson, August 3, 1889, to December 30, 1892; J. H. Phillips, July 15, 1893, to August 7, 1897; August 1, 1908, to July 16, 1910; Samuel A. Langum, August 7, 1897, to August 1, 1908; E. A. Highum to the present time.
Treasurers - N. P. Colburn, March 31, 1866, to March 30, 1867; W. A. Hotchkiss, April 13, 1867, to March 26, 1870; W. W. Fife, April 4, 1870, to October 9, 1871, May 10, 1878, to September 11, 1882, August 10, 1895, to July 16, 1897; A. Howell, October 9, 1871, to May 10, 1878 ; Lars O. Hamre, September 11, 1882, to July 17, 1886; H. C. Gullickson, August 7, 1886, to July 20, 1889; H. Conkey, August 3, 1889, to August 10, 1895; G. W. Robinson, August 7, 1897, to July 15, 1899 ; H. R. Wells, August 1, 1899, to January 12, 1910 (resigned); C. M. Anderson, January 12, 1910, to the present time.
Superintendents and principals-Up to 1891 the records speak of the man in charge of the schools as principal and superintendent interchangeably and indiscriminately. Since 1891 the one in charge of the schools has been known uniformly as superintendent, and since 1905 there has been, in addition, a lady principal. The appointments have been as follows: Superintendents and principals - E. J. Thompson, March 1, 1866, Levi Wright, October 31, 1868; W. H. Palmer, July 21, 1871; Philip H. Brady, August 12, 1875; E. P. Hickok, July 6, 1886; W. J. Alexander, July 28, 1887. Superintendents-E. E. Lockerby, August 3, 1891; W. W. Barnum, March 16, 1901; F. E. Lurton, August 11, 1903; Joel N. Childs, March 7, 1908; L. U. Towle, March 20, 1911. Principals-Gertrude Blair, appointed April 8, 1905, refused to serve; Clara B. French, appointed April 8, 1905; Anna Hills, appointed March 31, 1906; Anna Woodhu, April 3, 1908; Amanda J. Hanson, May 29, 1908 Ina Scherrebeck, appointed April 4, 1911, refused to serve; Elizabeth Sheldon appointed April 4 1911.
The high school is maintaining at the present time the usual classical courses and in addition offers well sustained courses in manual training, domestic science, elementary agriculture, and normal methods. The enrollment has reached the entire seating capacity of the high school assembly room-85. Plans for association with neighboring rural districts under the Benson-Lee act are being matured and a well developed agricultural department will then become a feature of the work. In connection with the normal department a room has been fitted for a model rural school, pupils being taken from the various grades for this room.
Chatfield Schools. A small district schoolhouse was built in Chatfield in 1856, but the town had no public schools worthy of the name except the Chatfield Academy until March 8, 1862, when the Chatfield school district was incorporated by a special act of the legislature, under which act it is still conducted. In that year a system of graded schools was inaugurated on a small scale. The attendance and teaching force rapidly increased, and in 1865 a public school building was erected which was the pride of the town and one of the best in southeastern Minnesota. From time to time smaller additional buildings were erected, and for many years the subject of building a large and substantial school structure was agitated, resulting in the erection, in 1888, of the present fine brick school building, to which an addition was made in 1899, the whole costing with its equipment from $25,000 to $30,000.
Although a high school department was conducted from 1865, the first formal commencement was held on May 14, 1880, when a class of two, Kate Atchison and Emma Glissman, was graduated. Since that time the number of graduates has reached about 240.
Among the former principals or superintendents of the Chatfield schools the following names are most familiar: Gehiel L. Case, _____ Haines, E. J. Thompson, G. D. Crafts, Levi Wright, J. M. Miles, R. H. Battey, D. Davis, J. F. Giles, Helen A. Dunlap, Lela M. Klampe, E. J. Donaldson, F. J. Bomberger, H. L. Brown and R. L. H. Lord.
In 1912 E. B. Forney was elected to assume the duties of superintendent. Under him is a staff consisting of high school principal and two assistants, seven grade teachers, and instructors in music, domestic economy and agriculture.
By the special act under which the district exists, the board consists of five members. From 1865 to 1904, a period of thirty-nine years, G. H. Haven acted as secretary. He was succeeded by E. W. Rossman, who served for part of a year, and then by Charles L. Thurber until 1907, when the place was filled by G. A. Haven, who still holds the position (1912). Dr. Charles M. Cooper was elected trustee in 1900 and is now president of the board. Hon. Joseph Underleak and Dr. F. L. Smith are also trustees, and George R. Thompson is treasurer.
The aim of the board has always been to maintain as good a school as possible with the means the district could reasonably afford. In the fall of 1911, under the Benson-Lee act, departments of domestic economy and agriculture were introduced, which have greatly increased the efficiency of the schools. The domestic economy department is fully equipped with the best of apparatus, and conducted by a very capable specialist in her line. The department of agriculture, under its director, C. H. Hanson, a man particularly well qualified for his place, has assumed a position of unique importance, not only in the curriculum of the school, but by his co-operation with the farmers and extension work in the rural school districts, he has done much toward interesting the farmers in scientific agriculture. Associated with the Chatfield district are five rural districts in Fillmore county and two in Olmsted county, and under this enlarged associated district the two industrial departments arc carried on.-By George H. and George A. Haven.
Fountain Schools. Fountain has a graded school, with a two-year high school course. Four teachers are employed. The present school building was erected in 1893. The school board consists of L. S. Scott, chairman; J. O. Solie, treasurer; and Hiram Johnson, clerk.
The Mabel Schools. District 6 was organized in 1857, comprising eight sections of land and including what is now the village of Mabel. The district has ever since retained and still retains the same number and the same territory. The first schoolhouse in the district was erected in 1857, about a quarter of a mile east of the corporate limits of the present village of Mabel, and the first school was held in 1858, by James McDonald, teacher. In 1880 the first schoolhouse was found to be inadequate, and a new building was erected in the village of Mabel, on the site where the present school building stands, and the old schoolhouse was converted into a dwelling. The new schoolhouse contained three good sized rooms, and the teaching corps consisted of one principal and two grade teachers. In 1900 the present school building was erected and on the 1st of October of that year the new building was opened for school, with Thomas Cahill as principal and five grade teachers. Thomas Cahill held the position as principal until the end of the school year in the spring of 1905. In the fall of 1905 the school district was changed from a common to an independent district, and is now known as Independent District No. 6. The same fall the high school was instituted and A. Ray Kent was elected superintendent and Jessie Abbott principal. In the spring of 1906 the first class was graduated from the Mabel high school, the members of that class being Gertrude E. Bacon, Hattie M. Dayton, Mathilda E. Fossum, Floy M. Glise, Walter E. Larson and Leonard Stensland. In the fall of 1907 Charles Youngquist succeeded A. Ray Kent as superintendent of the school, and in the fall of 1911 Mr. Youngquist was succeeded by Oliver D. Billing, the present superintendent. The members of the present board of education are E. C. Erickson, A. L. Tollefson, H. H. Hammer, A. A. Miner, M. C. Christopherson and E. G. Stensland. The school, besides the graded and high schools, maintains departments of manual training, domestic science and agriculture.-By H. H. Hammer.
The Wykoff School. The recorded history of School District 104, Wykoff, dates back only a comparatively short time. Its unwritten history is heard from the lips of many, who, in their younger days, received a part, if not all, of their education within its halls. The first school building of which there is record is now the west part of the William E. Ploof home, until recently known as the Park Hotel. To the original building in 1880 another room was added under the principalship [sic] of Mr. Hunt, now a farmer near Fountain, Minn. This was outgrown and in 1894 a new building 42x50 feet with basement was erected at the corner of Line and Bartlett streets. This burned in the spring of 1897 and the school year, under the principal, Ralph Turner, was completed at the village hall. The present four-room structure erected upon the site of the burned building was ready for occupancy early in the fall of 1897. The property of the district is valued at $5,000. It owns a library of 500 volumes, nearly 2,000 text-books and apparatus worth $200. The enrollment is over 100, doing two years' high school work in addition to the first eight grades. There are three teachers besides the supervisor of music and the principal. The members of the school board for July, 1911, to July, 1912, were Dr. M. D. Ogg, chairman; A. G. Spies, clerk, and W. S. Kidd, treasurer. Scattered throughout this state and others are many well known school men and men of note in other lines who in the past have been principals of the Wykoff school. Twice in its history it has had a woman as principal, the first about 1895 and during the year 1911-1912. Those who have been its students, too, are widely scattered, holding more or less responsible positions abroad or pursuing life in the vicinity of Wykoff.-By Edna I. Murphy, Principal.
The Harmony high school building was remodeled and enlarged in 1903. The Rushford high school building is one of the finest in this part of the state.
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